With the holidays coming up, it is a perfect opportunity to not only teach your children the importance of giving, but to put it into action. The process of helping children to understand that is better to give than to receive can be difficult. After all who doesn’t like to receive a gift, right? However, teaching your children this valuable lesson is one of the most rewarding things you can give them.
Talking to your children is great first step in showing them the importance of giving and helping others. Find ways to bring up the topic during every day conversations you have when you are together as family, such as when you’re having dinner. You can talk about events happening in your community, stories you’ve heard about other people’s act of kindness, or you can spend time going around the table and talking about one kind act each family did that day.
Families should also be sure that children truly understand what kindness is and the importance of giving, not just receiving. Having an open dialogue about the topic is a great place to start, but it is important to also show your children.
Here are a few ways to help your children to understand:
- Start small, especially if you are working with very young children. An example might be making cookies for a sick friend. Let your child know that he or she is doing something nice for the friend, even though your child may want to keep the cookies for him/herself.
- Teach children that money isn’t necessary in order to give. They can wash a car, do the dishes without being asked, or even make breakfast in bed. These things don’t require money but still bring a smile to the recipient’s face.
- Let your child be involved in deciding who will benefit from the gift. Maybe you’ve given to the cancer research society for years, but your child heard about a need at the local pet shelter. By allowing them to help with the decision, they feel important and learn the value of giving to those who are less fortunate.
- Children learn by watching their most influential role model: YOU. If you volunteer at a local soup kitchen, when your child is old enough, let them go with you and start helping.
Families, even with young children, can make a big difference in another person’s life. Here are a few ways you can give back as a family:
- Donate clothes
- Volunteer at an animal shelter
- Help a family in need in the community
- Donate toys
- Help an elderly neighbor with yard or house work
- Raise money for a charity
- Donate nonperishable items to food shelters
By teaching your children the value of giving rather than receiving, you’re instilling in them a sense of pride and self-esteem; character traits that will take them far as they grow.