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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).

Teach Your Kids the Importance of Giving

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.

Teach Your Kids the Importance of Giving

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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4 Comments

  1. I agree with you on the importance of teaching our kids to help others. My husband has a small construction company and there were 3 different people who needed help, a place to stay temporarily, and we had a separate space for them. We would ask them to have dinner with us and we had some great memories. Anything from watermelon seed spitting contests on the deck after one meal, to meeting the one guy’s cockateel which we had him keep in the garage of course. I like to think the kids remember the reality that people in need are the same as all of us and we help them because someday, it could be us that need the help. We are all equal and you never know what the future holds.
    I like to think it made a difference. Today my 28-year-old daughter visits a Korean war vet in a retirement home whom she befriended through her work at a cafe. He now is facing the end of his life and has no contact with family and only one person that visits him. He was a fighter pilot in the war, a policeman after that… served our country. Deserved better in my opinion. I’m proud of my daughter for taking time with him and I believe that she will be rewarded for it, even if it’s just the good feeling you get when you reach out to someone. Life is better when you can make someone smile!

  2. My daughter is part of the American Heritage Girls organization and we do a lot of service projects through out the year. It has been rewarding and she enjoys it. Also she gets exposed to lots of ways to serve and to the people who need help.

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