How to teach your child the spirit of giving

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Turn the “gimme more” attitude into a giving attitude

During the holiday season, it’s easy for children to adopt a “gimme more” attitude. That’s why it’s essential to model and encourage behaviors throughout the year that teach your child the spirit of giving. Try these activities to cultivate generosity in your little (and not-so-little) ones now:

Teach young children the importance of sharing ?

Sharing is caring — a common phrase with a huge meaning and a valuable lesson to teach young children. Encourage sharing by starting with tangible items, like sweets or toys. Younger children may not fully comprehend what it means to donate money to a nonprofit organization, because they can’t see an immediate benefit to the recipient. Instead, teach young children to share using physical objects. For example, on playdates with other children, have your child share their favorite games and gadgets. Afterward, praise your kiddos for these acts of kindness to help reinforce this behavior.

It’s better to give than to receive: Why not do both?

Use gift-giving occasions, like birthdays and holidays, as an opportunity to give as well as receive. On your child’s birthday, have them share a favorite dessert with their entire classroom, or during the holidays, have your child prepare gifts to donate to your local Toys for Tots program. You could make it a fun activity by giving your little one a budget and taking them shopping for a child in need. These activities teach kids how good it feels to make others happy; encourage those feelings by talking to your children about them.

Use a little elbow grease to help an elderly neighbor ?

As your child gets older, you can teach the spirit of giving through physical activity. Ask your child to assist in shoveling an elderly neighbor’s walkway or driveway. Explain to your child that giving can come in many forms, including donating a little elbow grease to those who are unable to do laborious activities for themselves.

Your child’s hobbies are a way to give back

Find out what your child’s favorite hobbies are, and promote that activity as a way to give back to your community. If your child likes to perform, there may be opportunities to entertain residents at a local retirement home, or if your child loves animals, have them donate time to a pet shelter. When children and teens use their hobby to give back, it becomes a positive activity that they’ll want to continue.

Teach by example ?

Be an example for your child by modeling behaviors that show the spirit of giving in action. Modeling is one of the easiest ways to teach the importance of giving back to your community. Try buying gifts that benefit a charitable organization, like holiday cards from United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) or jewelry made by a local women’s group. Purchasing items that help a charitable cause can be both a unique gift idea and a way to spread awareness. Make it a habit to volunteer continuously throughout the year and not just during the holiday season, and be sure to involve the kids every time.

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