The season is upon us, there is no escaping it! My children are excited, especially now that the tree is up and that elf has returned again. The countdown is on and they are both looking forward to the big day. If ever there was a time to teach our kids about giving, it has got to be now, hasn’t it? It is a time for them to give gifts, but of course as with most children it can be easy to focus more on the receiving. I know that some of this shifts with age anyway, but I also want to help them to understand how privileged they are and how they can make a difference. I am sure I am not alone, so I thought I’d share a few ideas and suggestions of things that you can do with your children to help to teach them about the gift of giving.
Collect small change
There are so many ways that this can be used. Good friends of Boo’s have been encouraging their classmates to bring in their coppers to fill a jar with and they then plan to hand over to the city mission centre. Boo has taken her change in from her money box and she is very happy to help.
We have also used our spare change to put towards our food bank and toy donation collection this year, which is another way to use it.
Reverse Advent calendar
These are a great idea and so simple to run. On each day, instead of receiving a chocolate or gift, you pop some food into a bag or box, ready to donate at the end of the 24 days to your local shelter or food bank.
We have done this for the past couple of years, though this year instead of doing it day by day, we went shopping together and bought everything at once.
Buy hats and gloves for people who need them
You could pop to your local store with your children and buy hats and gloves for people in need of them. You can donate them to a centre or hand them out directly, it is up to you.
Additionally, you could take a small treat or two along with you. Sometimes the extra touches are appreciated just as mush as the essentials.
Operation Christmas Child
With this one, you will put together a shoe-box of essentials and gifts for a child in need. You can either put your own together or you can pack a shoe-box online.
This one is something that the children have done through school before, but it can also be done directly, by visiting the Operation Christmas Child website.
Give away toys and books
This time of year is a good time to encourage children to give away some of their toys and books. This helps you out as it clears out some space in their rooms for any new gifts that they will receive and it is good for them to make their own decisions around giving away their belongings.
We know we are fortunate. We have a roof over our heads, food and our children will receive presents. It can be difficult to convey to children in this position just how lucky they are at times, so these give you opportunities to do that and to have those conversations with them.
We also understand that it isn’t only at Christmas that people need our help, but I do think Christmas is as good a place as any to start sharing with our children about how important it is to give.
How do you help and encourage your children to give something back?