Thanksgiving has passed, which means you're thinking about putting up a tree, buying presents or planning the next big holiday meal. It also means that volunteers will soon huddle outside stores in hopes that you'll donate a little bit of money as you pass them by to do some grocery shopping, or you’ll get a knock on your door from a volunteer from the local children’s hospital asking for donations. As you drop some coins into the canister or pull out your check book, you're helping someone in need and setting a good example for your young children, but this isn't the only way to teach charity to impressionable minds. Consider this list when you need inspiration.
Take time to write
In the digital age, it seems
like the written note is all but gone. However, this practice teaches your
little ones some great lessons like taking time to personally connect with
others, and it also teaches gratitude. Make time to remind your child what she
has to be grateful for, and donating time to food banks or soup kitchens can
further impress this lesson upon them.
Honesty is always the best
But it doesn't always come easily, you
need to teach children to make it a habit, and you can do this with simple
practices. For instance, ask your child whether you're lying when you stand up
and say you're sitting down, because these examples clearly illustrate lying
and how confusing it is. If you're struggling with explanations, "Franklin
Fibs" is a book that shows the consequences of lying.
Holidays offer plenty of ways to teach
children compassion, and food drives are especially common around Thanksgiving
and Christmas, but your local pantry will accept donations at any time during
the year. Make shopping for goods to donate a fun activity with your child, and
let her pick out her favorite foods to share with someone in need. Starting a
family holiday tradition to choose a charity to give to every year is always
exciting for children to be involved in, so have a family meeting to discuss
which of the many charities to choose from, and get everyone’s opinion.
Of course there are loads of clichés
that express strength in numbers, but sometimes visuals do an even better job.
Have your child break a single toothpick, and then hand them a whole stack of
toothpicks and ask them to try again to break the toothpicks. She will see that
she is unable to break them when they’re all together, so discuss with her why
it’s difficult to break them together, and how it’s applicable to everyday life
and encourage her to put the lesson into play with siblings and at school.
Generosity is, perhaps, the most
important lesson on this list. Every child seems to go through a stage where
all he says it "mine" and you'll want to nip the behavior in the bud,
and what better way is there to do that than to show how giving something to
someone brings happiness? Simple tasks such as making their sister’s bed just
because she forgot, or doing a kind service for a friend or sibling they were
having a fight with has a big impact. Teaching them that a listening ear or a
hug goes a long way.
What lessons do you
make sure to teach children?
This article was
written on behalf of The Jason’s Hope Foundation, and for more information on
Jason’s Hope, http://www.giveforward.com/jasonshope