One of the most important values that a parent must foster in the home is the value of generosity. It’s more than just the act of giving and receiving. If anything, it’s the willful act of sharing that serves to build the character of your children and, consequently, the society where they belong.
While parents can implement their own creative ways to achieve this purpose any day, one of the best times of the year to give them the chance to really feel the impact of a generous deed is during the holiday season.
Because it’s a time when kindness is seen everywhere. People give one another gifts and kids are excellent observers. They just need to be guided on the ‘why’. If you want your kids to experience giving back this holiday season, here are some great ideas that will really create a mark in your kids’ personal character milestones.
Donate Toys to Kids in Need
It’s hard to appreciate something when you have it in excess, and this is something that kids need to understand firsthand. If your kids have a roomful of toys, having a toy drive is a great idea.
Organize a toy drive with other moms from school or in the neighborhood. Then have your kids pick up the toys from their collection and allow them to personally distribute the toys to the kids. If possible, you can also buy brand-new toys from the toy store.
Shopping for the toys, knowing that they will be giving them to others and handing over these most coveted joys of childhood, will teach your kids that ownership is not the only way to enjoy them. Sometimes, they need sharing.
Send Holiday Cards to People Serving in the Military
Military servicemen who defend the freedom of the country are the modern heroes of the nation. Their work is tough, and they can always use a little cheering up. Kids have a way of doing just that.
Through the Holidays for Heroes program, the American Red Cross invites the American people to “give something that means something.” A little holiday card from your little one can light up the hearts of these brave servicemen who are far from home. Parents may also send specialized holiday cards in bulk with personal messages from each child.
The Holiday Mail for Heroes Post Office Box is no longer available, but your local Red Cross chapter provides community-based events for card making and card signing. Contact the Red Cross to inquire about how you can participate.
Participate in the Local Food Drive
Your kids are probably used to having food at home anytime. But having three decent meals a day is a luxury to some people, especially the homeless. Teach your kids the true value of this often taken for granted blessing by volunteering with them in a food drive.
Food drives are especially helpful in the holiday season when the weather can be harsher and warm, fresh meals are hard to come by.
First, talk to your kids about why you’re doing what you’re doing, and take them out to shop for the items. Then have them help with sorting out the supplies at the food bank and personally give them to the recipients of the charity. Leading action by example and surrounding your kids with the spirit of giving helps cultivate a lesson for gratitude and benevolence.
Volunteering in your local soup kitchen is also another great option.
Spend Time at Care Homes
Many senior-care facilities and nursing homes provide many volunteers the opportunity to visit and interact with their senior residents. Most of these seniors are alone and have no loved ones to visit them. Thus, volunteers, especially children, are highly appreciated.
Children volunteers help bring the holiday cheer to these facilities. The radiant youth and vitality of young people remind seniors of their old good old days, perhaps of their own young families as well who are now far from them.
If there’s a care home in your area, it would be a great idea to volunteer your time to these institutions along with your kids. Talk to other parents as well. The more, the merrier. You may also bring goodies when you visit.
Bake Goodies for Emergency Personnel
And speaking of goodies, teach your kids to give back to the everyday heroes of your local community by doing some baking for your local fire stations, hospital emergency rooms, police stations, and ambulance bays.
The country’s first responders, police officers, nurses, and firefighters work tirelessly to ensure that your local community is safe. The holiday is a great time to say “We appreciate you.”
By involving your kids in these little yet meaningful gestures, you’re raising children who value hard work and gratitude and, eventually, adults who recognize the important roles that each individual plays in a thriving community.
The holidays are an excellent opportunity to teach your kids the value of generosity. Aside from the colorful decorations and the heap of gifts unwrapped during cheerful Christmas dinners, they need to be taught that the essence of Christmas is not in material things but in giving and being grateful for one’s blessings.