Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How to Teach Your Child the Joy of Giving!





To children around the world the holiday season is one of great anticipation for getting gifts.  But little ones will experience great joy when given the chance to give to others.  Sometimes, we parents get so wrapped up in fulfilling each of our child's dreams, we forget to give them the same pleasure--the pleasure that comes with planning a surprise for someone else, or making a secret gift that will be shared on a special day.

Here are some ideas that emphasize the giving side of the holiday season that will help nurture the kind and loving spirit that each and every child possesses.  Pick one or two and give them a go.  You and your child will be so happy that you did!


Help your child pick a simple art or craft activity to work on this season as a special gift to someone.  My kids have done all of these over the years:
  • Baking cookies or a special treat
  • Making a special ornament
  • Painting a birdhouse or garden sign
  • Sewing a simple message with ribbon onto a welcome mat
  • Writing a book or poem
  • Creating a video of pictures 
  • Drawing a special picture and then frame it.   
Do an act of service as a family.  Choose a local charity and go help serve a meal or donate toys and games to a shelter.  Or better yet, think of someone in your community that could use a helping hand and anonymously perform an act of kindness.  Have your children help to buy groceries or bake for them and then do the secret delivery together.

Add bows to your Christmas tree as you perform kind acts for each other as part of a secret Santa tradition.  Read more about that here:  splashparenting.com/2012/12/best-christmas-tradition-ever.html

Emphasize the season is about giving and sharing.  Allow your children to put some coins into the Salvation army bell ringer's bucket.  Let them witness you buying a coffee for a friend, or help you buy gifts for a family you sponsor through your church or synagogue.

Above all else, talk about the joy that comes from giving and sharing, and try to deemphasize the "getting" side of the holidays.  I already have children in my preschool class telling me what they are going to get for Christmas.  Practically all of the adults that they speak with this season ask what they want...it is a vicious cycle.  But don't forget the importance of emphasizing the other side--the great  and wonderful joy that comes from giving to someone else.

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