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It’s true:  giving feels good.  There’s been research in recent years telling us just that.  

Giving has other benefits, too – it can help us have harmony in our homes.  When you replace some of the gift- giving that you would normally practice with your kids and give it to others, it reduces the amount of clutter that comes in, especially over the holidays

De-cluttering and getting rid of used items is a great way to teach kids about giving when a child isn’t using something.  It’s hard to give that thing up, but someone else has the potential to enjoy it more.  Getting it out of the home and into the hands of someone who will enjoy it is a good thing.

Giving doesn’t have to be limited to that, however.  I think it’s important to let kids know that the less fortunate deserve brand-new things, too.  The holidays is a perfect time to start this.

Here’s a few exercises that you can try to get the good-giving vibes flowing in your family.

1.  Adopt a Family

Sometimes families just need help.  This is okay and normal.  When you adopt a whole family, you get to look at their wants and needs.  A lot of times when you adopt a family, they request basic things such as food and clothes.  Looking at these things can help teach kids to be grateful for the basic things that they have–some people just simply can’t afford them.

2.  Go shopping.  

Like I mentioned earlier, let kids know that this year you will be replacing a gift or two or theirs with a gift or two for a child who may not get any gifts.  In fact, the gift that you buy for them may be the only gift that they get for the holidays!  Involve the child in picking out a gift, then donate together.  Take a picture – they will be proud of what they’ve done!
3. Give time.  
“Stuff” isn’t the only important part of the holidays.  Think of ways you can give back via experiences – visiting, caroling, baking – any volunteer opportunity that would interest your family.
4.  Keep it going all year long.
Consider using some of these principles for other holidays like birthdays, Halloween or Easter.
For some children, this is a big step – and it’s okay if they’re a little resistant.  My suggestion is to acknowledge this feeling.  It’s HARD to develop a new habit, so let them know that you understand.
“It’s hard to give another kid a present that you want for yourself.  We’ll do it this time and see how it feels.  Usually giving feels so good that you’ll want to give even more next year!”
Getting past that little bit of discomfort usually has great rewards.
I’ll be sure to update you all with pictures from this year’s shopping outing in the upcoming weeks!

 

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