Teaching Your Child How to Give Back This Holiday Season
American SPCC supporter and guest blogger, Dale Vernor, shares some heartfelt ways that kids can make a big difference! For more free parenting resources, visit our LEARNING CENTER.
During the holiday season, it can be easy for parents to get caught up in the frenzy of buying presents for their children and families. Kids today grow up with a sense that Christmas is about getting presents and sometimes miss out on the true meaning of the holidays. Most parents want their children to be grateful and understand what Christmas is all about, but are unsure in what way to do so. Below are a few helpful ways to help parents teach their children about the reason for the season.
The Meaning of Christmas
For many, Christmas is a religious holiday. They celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice. For others, the holiday is simply about spending time with family and friends and being thankful for all that you have. As parents, you have the responsibility of deciding what Christmas means to your family. When your children are little, you can develop traditions that will help your child to understand your values of the holiday, which can include giving back to the community.
While Christmas is a fun and exciting time, be sure to talk to your child about the holiday and what it means to you. This will be helpful as your children age to teach them how to give back.
Reaching Out to Classmates
When your children are of school age, they may begin to see how other people are not as fortunate as they are. Talk to your child about his or her classmates. Is there anyone they think might enjoy attending a holiday dinner at your home? Or perhaps an outing to see Christmas lights in the neighborhood? Maybe even giving the child a small gift to celebrate the holiday. Any small gesture your child can do for a classmate can help them to learn more about giving
back during the holiday season and can make a less fortunate child’s holiday one to remember.
The holidays are about family time and a perfect way to teach your child about the importance of family. Plan a few traditions that take place each year, so your child can learn how to give more with family members. Invite grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins over for a pajama sleepover. Allow your child to plan games or prepare food that will be served during your holiday parties. Have family game nights were each family member gets a turn choosing a game and you spend quality family time together rather than watching television or being on mobile devices.
Helping the Community
One of the best ways to teach your children how to be more giving during the holidays is to reach out within the community. Your children may see a local soup kitchen on their way to school each day but have no idea what the facility is for. Plan a day where you take your kids to help serve in the local soup kitchen. Talk your children about how some people have difficulties in life and need help, and that this may be the only hot meal they receive. By your children seeing first hand how people need help and by serving others, their hearts will be more open to giving back. You can also donate to charitable causes in your community and participate in food drives or coat drives as well.
Making Christmas Bigger than the Gifts
While gift-giving can be fun, it is important for children to know that Christmas is more than just gifts. It is about people coming together and loving one another, giving a helping hand when needed and simply being a good person. Talk to your kids often about how fortunate they are and how they can use their time during the holiday season to give back to those who are in need. Being open and honest with your children about how other people live and how they are affected during the Christmas holiday can provide a better perspective for your kids. Find fun ways to show your children the importance of giving.
Your children will thank you later for your efforts.
Dale is a writer and researcher in the fields of addiction and mental health. After a battle with addiction Dale managed to find sobriety and become the first in his family to earn a Bachelor’s degree. Dale enjoys writing about these topics to help reduce the negative stigma associated with both addiction and mental health. When not working you can look for Dale on your local basketball court.
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