Blogger | Mom of One
The holidays are a great time to teach your children about giving back and explain to them how thankful your family is for all the wonderful things they have in life.
Dr. Mary Ann LoFrumento, author of the “Simply Parenting” series told an NBC reporter that it’s important to use the holiday as a teaching moment. “Beginning at four and five years of age, children understand the concept of saying thank you…and in a few years the concept of thankfulness. So the first step of instilling a sense of philanthropy into children is teaching them not to take what they have for granted.”
With the holiday season in full gear, here are six ways you and your children can lead by example and give back to those in need this year:
Donate Toys and Clothes
Before Santa arrives, have your children go through their old toys they aren’t using anymore and donate them to a local shelter or organization, such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Do this with their clothes as well – especially winter coats, boots, mittens, etc. – anything that may be in great need this time of year.
Volunteer at a Children’s Hospital or Shelter
Many organizations will have volunteer opportunities during the holidays. Perhaps it’s preparing a meal at a shelter or visiting sick kids in the hospital. A few weeks ago our family made a meal at the Ronald McDonald House and learned that they are constantly in need of volunteers. Do a little research and find an opportunity that will mean the most to you and your kids.
Adopt a Family
Many organizations, such as the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots, allow people to adopt a family for the holidays. You’ll get a list of how many kids (ages and gender) are in that family and what is on their wish list for the holidays. Try to find a family that has kids close in age to yours to make it more meaningful when shopping.
Pick a Cause
Help your children figure out a cause that is important to them (or your family as a whole) and have them donate a percentage of their allowance or perhaps one present (money value) to that charity. Each child could have a different one or you could pick one as a family. Another way to do this is to have a charity piggy bank that you add money to all year long. Whatever is in there at the end of the year can be donated. It’s a great reminder to give back beyond just the holidays.
Make Holiday Cards
Pick an arts and crafts day at your house and make homemade holiday cards to send to elderly people who may be lonely this time of year or military service men/women who are far away from their families.
Throw a Holiday “Giving” Party
Invite your friends and family to come over and ask that they each bring canned goods, clothing or other donations for a local charity important to your community.
Have you introduced the topic to philanthropy to your children? What ways does your family give back?
This post was originally posted on the now-defunct Mom’s Choice Matters blog on 12/14/2011.
About Charlotte Cavalier
Charlotte is a blogger for Mom’s Choice Awards. She is a mom of one. View all posts by Charlotte Cavalier here.