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Ways Kids Can Share During the Holiday Season

by Tania Cowling | December 25th, 2013 | Elementary, Social

boy givingThe holiday season is a perfect time to help children show they care about their world and the people they love. It’s also the time when kids think of fun and getting presents. Raising three children, I felt it’s never too early to teach them about caring and giving to others, thus bringing the joys of the holidays to people less fortunate. Parents and others who work with children want to help them learn about the importance of sharing. Civil service can begin now; take some time to determine social service and civic organizations that will welcome and encourage your participation. Below are a few ideas in which children can participate and hopefully learn the gift of sharing.

Begin with a discussion about what the season means to you and your children. Let them talk about the holidays with celebrations, special visitors and the presents they receive. Conclude by saying something like, “It sounds as if we always have wonderful holidays. We’ve had good food, new clothes and toys, special guests, and many surprises. But, did you know that there are people who don’t have these things?” Take a minute to think about this! Include in your discussion those who are sick, poor, homeless, or alone. Help your children to understand that these people can be children as well as adults. Then, tell the kids that an important part of the holidays is sharing — to give some of the good things we have to others who don’t have this opportunity.

Most communities have food and clothing banks. Think about cleaning out usable items you no longer need and giving them to others. Toys are especially needed during the holidays to bring some joy to children who wouldn’t get a gift. As your children get new toys for birthdays and holidays, donate the old ones. Take your discards together to collection areas where volunteers can talk about how they take donations and sort, organize, and help to distribute these items to other families.

As your children make holiday decorations at school and at home, think about making a few extras to take to a hospital or nursing home to bring cheer to others. Simple favors do much to brighten up spaces of shut-ins who could use a little love. Some schools, scouts, churches and other clubs set up visits to sing holiday songs, share homemade treats, or bring simple handmade gifts to the elderly, children in orphanages, or sick ones in hospitals.

Another thing I did with my youngsters has to do with giving to the environment and community. We spent an afternoon at our local park and cleaned up litter. We also made treats for our winter critters (the birds and squirrels). Core an apple and fill the hole with birdseed and hang these on low tree branches for the animals. There are many other ways to feed outdoor winter friends. Do some research and find projects to make together.

Whatever activities you decide to do or make, help your children understand the added joy they will feel that comes from sharing with others. And as parents, be proud of raising grateful children.

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