At this time of the year we are reminded to give thanks for the good things in our lives. It’s also a great time to teach kids to be giving and grateful.
Here are a number of ideas this holiday as well as throughout the year to teach kids to give back. Many of these suggestions don’t require a lot of work, are fun and can help create an even stronger bond as a family unit.
Start the Conversation
Teaching the basics of giving with Saving and Giving Jars
The premise is simple: have two jars – one designated for saving and the other for giving. Depending on your child’s allowance or age, you can have them allocate a certain amount of money each time they put money in the jar. For example $1 means 90 cents for saving and then 10 cents for giving.
Writing Santa letters makes a great way to talk about giving to kids less fortunate than your own. I have a great free printable for Santa letters you can print off and start the conversation today.
Make a Thankful Tree
With two kids under the age of 7, it seems like they wouldn’t be able to understand that not everyone lives in a home with a family and served three meals every day. But by asking them what things they are grateful for can be a great conversation starter. This tree is easy to put together and I’ve seen several versions of them – some are drawn on paper, some are painted with handprints, but for this one, we gather sticks from outdoors and talked about what we were thankful for. When I explained that some kids don’t have their favorite named toy or even a mama, they begin to ask questions and are primed for talking about the importance of giving back.
“I am Thankful…”at Galleria Dallas
“I AM THANKFUL FOR…” PRESENTED BY THE EURASIAN ASSOCIATION OF DFW
Level 2, Martin Lawrence Galleries
The exhibit displays the meaning of Thanksgiving among children of different cultures, with works grouped in different age categories: Under 5 years, 5-7 years, 8-10 years, 11-14 years, and 15-18 years.
Opens today – Dec. 7
No Matter their Age, Kids Can Help to Give
Crafting for Good
Crafts are actually a great way to help children learn about giving. For instance, they can create a place mats or a centerpiece to put in with your Pantry Box for Metrocrest Services. On the website they provide a list of what they need and you can purchase them, put in the placemats and they will stock them in their pantry or during the holidays, they will pack them with the holiday food deliveries. If you prefer, you can actually attend a Family Night and for an hour the organization will do a family craft for 30 minutes and the family can stock the pantry with donated goods.
Collecting Everyday Goods
Toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste – these are all things we take for granted. But at the Arlington Life Shelter, individuals and families that don’t have anywhere to live are provided these basics necessities to help them sleep somewhere warm and receive a warm meal while getting the skills they needs to get back out there. They always post their current needs list online and on their billboard, so you can have the kids put together the box and on your designated day, make the drop off.
Be on Their Level
Adopt an Angel and Toys for Tots
A tradition for many families and organizations at the holiday, you can get in the sprit of giving on a level kids can really understand since you are giving to kids in your child’s age range. You can find Adopt an Angel trees in shopping centers throughout DFW, but some families are so busy they can’t get to the tree! So they’ve made it easy and you now can adopt a kid online, make your purchase and then drop of them off at a designated locations. And Toys for Tots, which FOX 4 is a sponsor of, is a phenomenal organization led by the US Marines. The process gives your kids a hands-on opportunity to buy the gifts they want for the age they want and then drop them off for distribution.
Host a Giving Party
Instead of having guests to a holiday party or for your child’s birthday party, ask guests to bring gifts to give to a charity your child chooses. For instance, you could hold a PJ Party and ask guests to give blankets or teddy bears. Many organizations need both of those for patients at children’s hospitals like Children’s Health. Once year we asked for socks for teens and they were given to kids in the hospital so they had something fun to keep their feet warm and are fun!
Teaching Good Means Being Good
Be a Good Example of Giving
Remember kids learn by watching so be a good example. December 2 is #Giving Tuesday, a global initiative to raise money for nonprofits #GivingTuesday is a global giving campaign.Your generous donations will not only allow us to continue fulfilling wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses and provide them an experience of a lifetime at Give Kids The World, but they will also count twice! An anonymous donor will match every donation made on #GivingTuesday, up to $20,000.
www.gktw.org/givingtuesday (This donation page will only be accessible on December 2nd and will be open for 24 hours. )