The holiday season brings a flurry of frenzied and endless shopping. As a parent, though, you want your kid to associate this time of year with giving and not just with taking. How can you give your kid a joyous holiday season and teach them about kindness at the same time?
The best way to do this is by actively encouraging your child to think of others and of gifts that give back. Not everything related to thinking of others has to involve non-profit organizations, charities and monetary donations. Try these activities to help bring the spirit of giving into your home this year.
One In = One Out
Is your toy box overflowing? Does your child have more games than he needs? Start a new rule this holiday season—when he gets a new toy, choose one old toy to give away. Set up a large box in the corner of your playroom and have your child place one toy in the giveaway box for every new one he receives. He can choose older toys he’s lost interest in or those he’s outgrown. When the box is full, take a family trip to the local toy drive or to a needy family in the neighborhood. Watch your kid’s face light up as he makes others happy with his own thoughtful donations.
Designate one evening this season for writing holiday cards. No, not to your family and friends—these cards are for children who’ve been stricken with illness. Set up a table with lots of cardstock and all your kid’s favorite crafts supplies. Speak to your family about sick children who might be sad this Christmas and could use a simple homemade greeting card to cheer them up. Have fun creating your masterpieces and inscribing them with positive, encouraging messages. Then, get your family into the car and drive over to the local hospital to deliver them personally.
Many grocery stores hold food drives during the holiday season. Help support a local cause and teach your child about giving to others at the same time. Take your child along with you on your next trip to the grocery store and have him choose one food item to purchase for the food drive. If you usually let your child pick a treat at the grocery store, ask him if he’d like to buy something for someone in need instead. Make sure your child is the one to actually place the chosen food item into the collection bin so he can personally experience the joy of giving.
Does your child love performing? If you’ve got a young star at home, this is the perfect way to teach him to use his talents to make others happy. Have your child invite several friends over one afternoon and ask them to prepare a small dance or a short comedy routine. Let them dig through your costume collection to outfit themselves for their grand debut and practice their gig until it’s perfect. Then, take them to the local nursing home to spread cheer among the residents. The kids will have fun and the residents will adore the performance. It’s a win-win all around.
Great Financial Start
Now that you have some great activities to get your child into the spirit of giving, there’s something you can give your child. Instead of another toy or game, give your kid the gift of a great financial start. Open a Lil’ Partners or Teen Partners account to teach your child the importance of saving and spending responsibly.