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Everyone is sitting in the living room, eager to start opening gifts. The smell of garlicky prime rib still lingers in the air. The anticipation on my son’s face is intense and I’m not sure he can contain himself any longer. So he waits as patiently as a young child can to receive his gifts. Finally, he gets one! He rips it open like the world’s going to end in 5 seconds and voila! It’s a shirt. “Thanks,” he says, with about as much enthusiasm as a sleeping owl. He obviously needs a lesson in the importance of giving (and receiving).
I’m sure you’ve been through this same scenario. Of course, they get what they want and are super excited and grateful for those things as well. But my goal this year is to teach my kids the importance of giving. As well as teach them how rewarding and fulfilling it truly can be.
Everyone says that it’s better to give than to receive. But, it can be easy to lose sight of this during the holiday season, especially for kids. So much of the Christmas season is focused on toys and presents, kids tend to catch a case of the “gimmies.” Are you having a hard time teaching your kids about how important it is to give? If so, here are a few ways you can encourage them to be more giving, during the holidays and beyond.
Start with a Small Act
Many people have a hard time getting motivated to give because they feel like their contribution won’t matter in the long run. Prove to your kids that every little bit counts when it comes to donating either time or resources. Look for someone in your community that your kids can help with something like yard work or other chores around the house. One of my favorites is to take them to a local food bank. They get to learn how much their community is really affected by hunger. And trust me, there are no shortages of “to-do’s” at the food bank.
Don’t forget to reward them for their good deeds and show them the ways that even a small act of kindness can be a big help to someone. That way, they’ll probably be more willing (and excited) to help the next time.
Set a Good Example
Kids often want to follow in the footsteps of their parents. If you want your kids to pick up on how important it is to give, make sure that you practice a bit of giving yourself. Let them see you putting aside time to help others or donating to a charitable organization. Remember, it’s sometimes more difficult to get your kids to want to give when they’ve never seen you do so. All it takes is once, to set a good example.
Find Other Kids
It will be easier for your kids to connect with the idea of giving if they’re involved in a project with their peers. Look for opportunities like food banks or toy drives in your community. Check to see if they allow children to participate in their programs. If there aren’t any kid-friendly charitable organizations in your area, consider taking it upon yourself to organize a volunteer event. You also have the option of seeking out online charities or volunteer organizations that kids can relate to.
Make Them Feel Empowered
The greatest motivator for giving is the feeling that you can make a difference. If you want your children to feel good about giving, make them feel good about themselves. Let them know that the things they have to say are important and encourage them to incorporate their talents into giving back to others. If they feel empowered, they’ll feel like they definitely can and will make a difference.
If you practice the act of giving on a regular basis, you make a habit out of generosity and charity. This is especially true of kids, who are growing up and developing into the people they will be later in life. Talk to your children about how important it is to give today and they will almost certainly make you proud of their compassion in the future.
How do you get your kids involved in giving? What are some of your favorite charities to work with? Leave a comment.
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