If you’ve ever felt a rush of joy after hand-delivering a meaningful gift to someone, you know firsthand that giving can lift your mood. Finding ways to involve your kids in acts of generosity this holiday season may help them to experience similar boosts to their happiness levels, which may inspire them to seek out opportunities to be more giving throughout their lifetimes.
This year is ideal for teaching kids about giving and sharing. They know that many people have experienced hardship during the pandemic, and they may want to spread love and kindness. Children may also be in greater need of having their spirits lifted, if your holiday plans look different than in years past, without big family gatherings or communal events. Making the season more special for those in need may help your children enjoy the holidays in a whole new way.
Instilling a sense of giving in your children may also:
- Help them to become more compassionate and empathetic.
- Give them a greater sense of purpose in your community.
- Boost their levels of self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Motivate them to take on more positive projects in the future.
The Best Ways to Nurture a Sense of Giving
Feeling personally connected to a cause may make the act of giving more significant for your kids, so talk as a family about issues that interest them. If they’re passionate about pets or cooking, find ways to incorporate their preferences into your plans. Whenever possible, encourage kids to share their talents and creativity to make a difference.
Younger children may better understand the impact of giving if they’re providing something tangible, rather than a monetary donation, so consider volunteering your time or donating needed items. If you give to a local group, your kids may see the impact of their gifts, which can be powerful to witness.
To inspire kids to be more giving:
- Model generosity year-round, and talk about your reasons for donating time, money or items.
- Make giving sound appealing but voluntary, so that kids don’t feel forced to participate.
- Help your kids understand some of the reasons why a group may need their support.
- Consider setting aside a percentage of money each week if they get an allowance so they can get in the habit of giving to a cause that’s important to them.
If your kids want to contribute to meaningful causes during the holidays but aren’t sure how:
- Suggest that for every new toy they receive, they might donate an older toy to someone in need.
- Donate outgrown clothing or warm coats and talk about why it’s helpful.
- Gather food for a food bank or personal hygiene items for a homeless shelter.
- Have them personalize their efforts with hand-drawn pictures or notes.
However you teach your children to focus on giving, it will benefit them and those around them. As adults, it is a good habit to get into ourselves if we don’t already focus on giving and making our communities better.
If you come up with any creative ways to teach your children about giving, or have great examples of the giving spirit for your kids or those around you, send us your stories, post them on social media, and tag #OnOurSleeves!