As parents we want to set a good example for our kids. Of course, we want our children to be good people that help others, treat everyone with respect and contribute to society year-round. But the holiday season lends so many opportunities to show our little ones the importance of thankfulness and what it means to give back. Here are some ways you can use the holidays to teach your child about the real reason for the season.
Spend a day at a local food drive
It’s very important to expose your kids to the power of volunteering. This helps teach them the importance of community and being selfless. It also opens their eyes to the fact that not everyone has food, clothes, toys or a family like theirs. Taking one day to volunteer at a food drive or local charity event is a great way to spend time with your family while teaching the kids to think of others.
Donate old toys to children who can’t afford their own
If your kids are anything like I was growing up, my parents spoiled me with presents. With new gifts coming in for the holidays, encourage your children to clean their rooms and give the older, less-used toys a second chance. This teaches sharing, minimalism and is a sustainable way to recycle old toys. This act also gets your children excited about helping others. You can include them on the search for charities that take toys or even participate in pen-pal programs where your child can write a letter to someone across the country!
Write gratitude notes
I remember doing this as a child. At the end of each day, I had to write something I was grateful for. It could be as general as “my friends and family” or something small like “strangers that smile when we pass on the sidewalk.” The purpose of this exercise is to become more aware of all the little things that you can be grateful for in a day. It makes you realize how lucky you are and once you get in the habit, you naturally become more grateful. You can also have your kiddos write gratitude notes to friends family and pass them out on Thanksgiving day. This is a wonderful exercise for teaching thankfulness and positive thinking.