As the season of excess approaches, balance out your holiday indulgences
with charity work and volunteering. Teaching your children to be charitable
is a great gift for them and for the community in which you live. When
children do volunteer work and interact with people who are less fortunate,
they learn to be grateful for all that they have.
Getting the picture
Teaching gratitude can be a difficult lesson as children compare themselves
to their peers and don’t have a global frame of reference. Helping
them to be charitable to others introduces them to people outside of their
comfort zone so that they can see just how fortunate they really are.
Besides, giving really is better than receiving and the joy of helping
others is a wonderfully rewarding experience for kids.
Talk about Charity
While being a good role model is key, research shows that talking about
charity is an effective way to introduce the idea. Get your kids to list
all the things they have to be grateful for and talk about the fact that
others may not be as fortunate. Discuss financial charitable contributions
and doing things for people in your community that don’t cost money.
Pair fun activities with giving so that your children have positive associations
with charitable work.
Give them a vote
Ask your children what they would like to do for charity. It can be something
like donating toys and old clothes, raising money for a charity of their
choice or helping a neighbor with daily chores.
Get older children to investigate charities in your community and in the
world that they would like to contribute to. Visit local food banks or
shelters to volunteer. When they meet people in their communities and
read up online about conditions in developing countries, they get a more
tangible idea of what life is like for other people.
Include Mother Nature
While charity tends to focus on our fellow humans over the holidays, don’t
forget the environment on your list of things to do. Discuss with your
kids ways in which they can improve the environment in your backyard,
in their communities, in their country and in the world.
Here are a list of things you can consider for charitable activities over
- Visit a local senior’s home and talk to the residents.
- Volunteer at a local toy drive or soup kitchen.
- Donate toys and clothing to charity.
- Help elderly neighbors to shop, shovel their drives or take out their trash.
- Ask some of your relatives for charitable gifts instead of personal ones.
You can buy a goat for a family in Africa, plant a tree in a reforestation
program or sponsor a child’s education.
- Raise money for a good cause through bake sales, cocoa stands, doing chores
for neighbors etc.
- Feed the birds and other wildlife in your yard.
- Organize a garbage cleanup of your local natural areas.
Raise money for endangered species.
pic by Sharon Mollerus