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How to teach a 5 year old the importance of giving and helping the less fortunate?

Tis the season of giving as they say. My daughter thinks Christmas is just about Santa and 'being good' so she can get presents. I want to teach her the importance of giving and find some ways that she can give back and help the less fortunate this Christmas season.
All we have done so far is take her to the store and let her pick out a toy to donate to Toys for Tots and I explained the concept behind it but I want to do more with her. Now we are not wealthy and my kids do not get everything they want, in fact, they usually only get new toys at birthday's and Christmas (which is probably why she has the attitude towards Christmas that she does) and new clothes as they grow out of the old ones.

Got any suggestions? What kinds of things do you and your family do to give back? I am looking for something that will be fun and rewarding for her and give her a new perspective on giving and receiving.

Answer Question

Asked by TilmannsGirl at 9:38 AM on Dec. 1, 2008 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 5 (87 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • Serve meals at the local homeless shelter......or I like to take paper lunch bags and fill them up w/ things like toothbrush, travel size: soaps, toothpaste, shampoo, socks, gloves, tobogan, a piece of fruit, small packs of trail mix/nuts/crackers, etc. and pass them out to the homeless people that stand beside the off ramps in town. Hope that helps.

    Answer by Kimebs at 9:51 AM on Dec. 1, 2008

  • There's nothing like experience to teach: take her to a shelter to make her donation. Show her that there are people who don't have the wonderful things that she has. Just check out the place don't want to take her somewhere she'll be scared by.

    Answer by companygoddess at 10:38 AM on Dec. 1, 2008

  • Talk all you want but you need to show her. How about donating your used toys and teddy bears to a local hospital? Let her, with your help of course, sort through her things. You could have her help you make a meal for a sick friend or neighbor or (depending where you live), have her help shovel snow for an elderly neighbor. These are all things we did with our kids when they were younger to teach them a bit about empathy and giving back.


    Answer by Anonymous at 12:51 PM on Dec. 1, 2008

  • Let her see the meaning of Christmas through your actions. As a family help at a homeless shelter. Be generous to those you encounter during the day by simply offering a smile or opening a door. Children learn from us so if we are being kind and generous they will learn to be that way. Christmas at our home is about our lords birth. We do celebrate with gifts but that is not the focus. We get up on Christmas morning and go to Christmas service. When we get home we have a meal as a family and after that my son gets to open his gifts. He writes thank you notes to all who give him gifts thanking them for thinking of them.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:36 PM on Dec. 1, 2008

  • Cont.
    It is not easy when so many are greedy this time of year. As parents our influence is greater than the worlds influence. We shut off the TV a lot so he is not bombarded with commercials and told he needs this and that to be a better or happier kid. We take him to places so he can help people with us. We cleaned his room yesterday and tomorrow he will donate the 6 trash bags of toys and clothes to the womens shelter we regularly donate to. He has helped me there a few times and has a heart for it like I do now. He helped with painting when they remodeled the shelter with his dad. Be the person you want your child to be.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:36 PM on Dec. 1, 2008

  • Every year I give my son ten dollars and we go to the dollar store to fill a shoe box for Samaritans purse. He knows he is buying presents for a little boy ( I always choose a child the same age and sex as him) whos mommy and daddy have no money to buy him fun things for Christmas. This year (he is 4) He asked me why Santa didn't get them and I just told him that even Santa like it when we help others and left it at that. I think it is 2 late for Samaritans purse but Toys for Tots is just starting. YOu could let your child choose a gift for another child who needs it.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 7:36 PM on Dec. 1, 2008

  • This is how I teach my son to do his part for community:
    When my son grows out of clothes, books, toys, etc. then we donate them to a local charity so that children who are in need can have them. I also donate clothes and unwanted items of my own (it is only fair that I do as I ask my child to do). Also at birthday time we fill a box with old toys (which he doesn't play with) and donate them, this makes room for the new things and allows him to help less fortunate children.

    Answer by indigostone at 10:03 PM on Dec. 1, 2008

  • In our area, there are Salvation Army "angel trees" in several stores. You choose a paper ornament with a child's name and age on it. They usually also have suggestions for gifts the parents think the child would like. We always choose a boy my son's age and a girl my daughter's age. My kids shop with me and help choose the gifts. If my kids wish they were getting it, I know it is a good choice!

    We also talk about how fortunate we are to have the things we have; a good house, loving parents, plenty to eat and clean clothes to wear, bikes to ride, etc... It doesn't happen overnight, but I think compassion comes naturally to kids, if opportunities are given.

    Answer by yarnjunkie at 11:23 PM on Dec. 1, 2008

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