(NC) With the season of unwrapping and receiving just around the corner, there’s no better time to teach our children how to feel good about giving.
Like any behaviour, generosity is learned. Be sure to lead by example, whether it’s holding the door for someone, making an extra batch of cookies for neighbours or simply remembering to say ‘thank you’.
Kids also learn best when they can provide input. Ask them how they would like to donate their time, for example. Do they like animals? Try the local shelter. Are they good at art? Have them draw pictures for friends and family.
A good way to get everyone involved is to set up a generosity “bucket list.” Decorate a jar in holiday colours and fill it with notes containing random acts of kindness—from putting toys away to sweeping, shoveling the steps or calling Grandma. Everyone gets to pick one a day.
Speaking of jars, a donation jar is a great way to teach kids how to be generous with their money. Ask them to set aside a portion of their allowance every week to give to charity, then have them choose where they’d like their donation to go. An option like UNICEF’s Survival Gifts lets children pick what items they’d like to purchase, such as vaccines, exercise books or water purification tablets, and they can see how children half a world away will benefit from their generosity. More information is available at survivalgifts.ca.
Finally, take time at the end of each day to discuss what was meaningful. What are you grateful for? What was the best part of your day? How did you bring a little happiness into someone else’s life? Focusing on the positive helps teach children that generosity not only makes other people feel good—it makes us feel good, too.