As parents, we can teach our kids to focus on giving and find joy in helping others. How? The same way we’ve taught them everything else: begin at home and lead by example. Remember, the kids learned to brush their teeth by watching you. They learned how to interact with their peers and how to clean their rooms (ha!) by listening to you. Demonstrate how to help others by doing it yourself and bring the kids along. Here are seven ways to teach your kids to focus on giving, at the holidays and all year long.
Read Related: How Volunteering Helps Build Empathy
- Volunteer, and bring the kids with you: Find an organization where everyone can help out. Animal rescue organizations need help with everything from playing with animals as they await adoption to cleaning cages (maybe leave that for the grownups). Soup kitchens need people to peel potatoes and wash dishes.
- No time? No problem: You can still find small ways to help, even if it’s only for a few minutes. You and the kids can help a neighbor bring her groceries into the building. Or maybe you can donate an hour of your time at school.
- Shop for a cause: Many charitable organizations offer online retail sites, such as the St. Jude Gift Shop, where all proceeds benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Let kids shop for their friends, family members or a favorite teacher.
- Help one another at home: Charity begins at home.Teach your kids that everyone pitches in from time to time.. Older children can help the younger ones with homework. Little ones can fold laundry.
- Give without expectation: Encourage children to help without expecting reward or recognition. Some things we do just because it’s the right thing to do, like mowing the lawn of a sick neighbor, or shoveling snow from an elderly person’s driveway.
- Make it fun to help others: Get out the craft supplies, and make holiday cards to deliver to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or a nursing home. Make table decorations to brighten institutional décor.
- Go shopping for others: Take your kids toy shopping, not for themselves, but for a child who might not otherwise get a Christmas present. There are many opportunities to anonymously sponsor a child in need at the holidays. There are many opportunities to sponsor a kid in need anonymously.
This article is one in a series sponsored by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and dedicated to the spirit of giving to those in need, at the holidays and year round. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeat s childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.