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Smarter Living: Giving back with kids

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Lately, I find myself reminding Kiddo to say thank you a lot...for compliments on her sweater, for that early Hanukkah present, for so many things. Just one of the bazillion things we teach them, huh? Here's another one...

Bambam111 writes: I want to teach my kids the value of giving back to others. I can write a check or make a donation and talk about it, but that really doesn't make much impact on them. Any ideas on how to give to others with my kids? They aren't old enough to volunteer at a soup kitchen or anything like that.

We try when they are young for them learn to share - their toys, their snacks - with friends and siblings. When they do, they see their friends smile, and they know they've done a "good" thing. But sharing and giving of their time and energy to others that they don't know or perhaps have never met is a tough concept to understand.

But it is a big one. For kids to learn empathy, to realize they can share something and get nothing back in return and still feel pretty awesome inside, is hard to do, but there are a few ways...mainly, making it something they can understand.  Start a conversation about how it would feel if maybe they didn't have a lovey to snuggle with at night or clean socks or toys under the tree...and how they can help you help kids in the world be sure to have those great things too.

Look at organizations like Socks N Undies (which provides what you think - sock and underwear and toiletries for men, women and kids in shelter) or Project Linus that has a cool no-sew template for making a homemade blanket for kids in need and at hospitals.

This time of year, so many toy drives are going on - Toys for Tots are a big one, as is the Coalition for the Homeless. Easy way to have your kids think about another person is to have them pick out toys for others...for folks they never have and never will meet probably. Even better, see if they will spend some of their allowance on this!

How do you get your kids into giving to others?

Š DepthofField

by on Nov. 26, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (31-38):
by on Nov. 26, 2012 at 9:27 PM

We always go through our stuff and donate to the less fortunate. I would like to find a shelter around here to volunteer with them.

by on Dec. 11, 2012 at 8:35 AM

This story is very inspirational. I have had to look to organizations in the past and it really did make a difference. Although Christmas to Christians is about love and God, the children still expect presents even though they know it's not about them or their birthday, they still look forward to gifts to open on Christmas day and if it were not for Toy's for Tot's and a Catholic Nun Sister Sharron, my children would not have had a very good Christmas last year, it was toys for tots and the Catholic Dioces who made sure the kids had a blessed Christmas and I just want to say THANK YOU to ALL who donate. In years past I had donated and then last year I took help, this year I am helping others by taking them to appointments to pick up food and toys because they don't have a vehicle so there is always something we can do to help our neighbor this season, I may not have money but I have a car with gas in it so I can help my neighbor get to a place to receive the help this season I had to get in the past. The season is about love and giving, not necessarily gifts but love and a helping hand can go a long way. May your season be blessed, Merry Christmas, Happy hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa too! If you can't pay it forward this season, don't worry if you have to accept help, it doesn't make you less of a person, it doesn't make you un-independant, you are just as important and valued even when you poor as you are when you are rich and one day you will be in a position to help others so if you are struggling this season, hold your head up, things will get better I am living proof :)

by on Dec. 11, 2012 at 2:45 PM

 We make up boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

by on Dec. 11, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Dd is just two but we're teaching her about giving. We noticed the doctors office we were leaving had limited toys and so we chose some of hers to give to them. We did the same thing with the SS office as well who didn't have any toys.

Its awesome that she's really into saying TY for everything. She's also learned to say Bless You when someone sneezes and I figure she got that from watching us because that's what we do.

It's all about role modeling as a parent. Your child will mimic your actions so it's important to demonstrate actions or phrases you want them to copy from you.

by Ruby Member on Dec. 11, 2012 at 8:39 PM

no need to "get them into it". it's always been part of their lives so for them it's second nature to give to others.

since they were little i take their outgrown clothes & toys to a foster support center (basically it's a like a goodwill but only for foster children & everything is free to the foster parents)  we always put change in the salvation army buckets during the holidays, as well as buy toys for a local charity as well as toys for tots. 

our church is really into helping others, it's part of life for all that attend.  they sponsora local girl's home & will collect back to school supplies for them.  they "trick-or-treat" for unicef at halloween.  collect food for a local pantry year round.  & in the summer they make bagged lunches for a local organization that helps out school kids that may not eat outside of school.

their school is also very "giving".  they do blanket/coat drives in the winter as well as a canned food drive.  they collected change for sandy victims, over $2000 in a week.

so for my children giving to others is not something they have to be coaxed into doing.  it comes as natural to them as walking.

by on Dec. 12, 2012 at 10:41 AM

 We always donate.

by on Dec. 12, 2012 at 5:03 PM

One thing we used to do when we weren't broke was they each got to pick a canned/boxed food from the grocery store every time we went. We would put them in a box and when the box was full we got to deliver it to the food pantry.

by on Dec. 12, 2012 at 8:53 PM

I have them go through their toys to donate. I explain to them that some children don't have any toys to play with. I also let them know when I am collecting food for a food drive and I tell them  it's important we try to help collect food for our community because there are people who don't have enough to eat.

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