The following is a piece published in Parent Today, a resource produced by Capital Region BOCES designed to give you the information and tools you need to encourage your children’s school success.
With the holidays fast approaching, your child might be perfecting their gift lists, and giving might not be a thought in their head. Perhaps they weren’t exposed to it, or they don’t understand the concept of it, but the holiday season is a perfect time to teach your children the power of giving.
To help your little ones understand the power of giving, take the time to explain to them what giving means and how important it is, how you have donated your time, money, belongings and how you will continue to make an effort to do so. Your child will pick up on your excitement and will want to get involved.
Here are some ways to get your child involved in giving back:
1. Volunteer as a family:
Make it a tradition each year to volunteer or give back to your community. As a family, decide on a charity or a volunteer event you would like to do together. If your children are pet lovers, seek out information from your local animal shelter or humane society and ask about volunteering or see what they may need such as blankets, food, treats, etc. Or bring a garbage bag with you on walks or trips to the park, and pick up any trash you may see.
2. Go shopping for Toys for Tots:
The other day, my five-year-old niece called me up very excited to tell me she went shopping for toys with her grandma. I asked her what she purchased, and she told me, “Nothing for me. I picked out so many toys for Toys for Tots!” Her joy and excitement to pick out toys for other kids made her day. Even though she didn’t completely understand the whole concept, she knew that children were in need and this time of the year is about giving, not receiving. Plan a day with your child to go shopping for Toys for Tots. Make it a tradition and let them drop off their goods to a drop box or an organization. On Christmas morning, some children will wake up with toys your children picked out!
3. Allowance for charity or donations:
If your child earns an allowance, consider splitting the amount half. One half goes to your child’s savings and the other half to a charity or a donation. You can sit down with your child to help them research and find a charity or a place to donate to. Once you have decided on a charity/donation, make a jar and help them decorate it to the theme of their charity/donation of choice. Once it’s filled, go with them to drop it off.
These are just some ideas to introduce your children to the season of giving. These practices surely don’t have to stop after the holiday season, make it an all year event, but make it more special during this time of the year.
If you are excited, your children will feel it and get just as excited.
Tis the season of joy, happiness, and giving!