Guest Blog by Clarissa | Lakeshore Blog Ambassador from Munchkins and Moms
Like most kids, my boys love to receive gifts. All year long they look forward to special days during the year when they’ll receive presents from friends and family. My kids have already started talking about items on their wish lists (like this aircraft carrier and these kid-safe appliances), but we’ve also been talking about ways we can give to others to make the season special for everyone!
Here are six ways we’ve decided to encourage the spirit of giving in our kids:
1. Donate to a cause that interests your kids.
My kids recently started asking for a pet, so we took a trip to our local shelter to find one just right for our family. While at the shelter, we asked how we could help care for pets still waiting to be adopted. One request we knew we could help fulfill was gathering blankets and towels to keep the animals warm and clean. My kids were excited to go through our linens and find extra towels to donate!
What special interests do your kids have? Try visiting local zoos, aquariums or museums to see how your family can support the community.Read More →
2. Serve those who serve us.
My kids always notice when public servants (like police officers and firefighters) race by to help a person in need. When we hear sirens whiz by, we talk about how these community helpers are headed to places where others may be hurt and need assistance. Since my kids look up to the people who serve and protect our community, we love to find ways to show these people our support and appreciation all year long.
Talk to your kids about different public servants and ask which of them they’d like to create a card for. Letting kids hand-deliver the cards makes it a special experience for both the giver and receiver!
3. Help out a neighbor.
The idea of serving and giving can be abstract for young kids because they don’t actually see the difference the gifts make in a person’s life. For example, giving money to a charity is great philanthropic work, but kids never get to see the impact of the donation.
One way to help kids see the benefits of giving is by encouraging them to give through acts of service.
Some acts of service that our neighbors appreciate include delivering groceries, mowing a neighbor’s lawn or making a meal for new parents down the street. These gifts of time and energy give everyone in the community something to smile about.
Try brainstorming a few ways to serve your neighbors, and then have your kids help in those acts of service and watch their love for giving grow!
4. Bake for a cause.
Kids love to help out in the kitchen! Baking special treats for people they appreciate is a great way for them to give back and show thanks.
Kids can personally deliver the treats to people they would like to show appreciation for, or your family can hold a bake sale and donate the proceeds to a charitable organization. Tip: If your kids are old enough, let them help you research and choose a charity so you’re sure to find one that resonates with them.
5. Create gift baskets.
There are many people who make our lives better because they do their jobs exceptionally well—teachers who give up lunch hours for tutoring, babysitters who kids ask to see over and over again, or the little league coaches who always have an encouraging word for the team. These people deserve extra thanks for always going the extra mile for our families. Putting together gift baskets as a family is a fun way for everyone to show gratitude to these generous do-gooders!
We created a gift basket for our favorite day care teacher using fingerpaint and other useful supplies. What would you include in a gift basket for your kids’ teachers? Let your kids brainstorm some ideas—they’re sure to come up with creative items that they’d be excited to give!
6. Donate while you shop.
During holiday shopping trips, look for more ways to give as a family. Kids can collect change to drop in Salvation Army buckets, help pick out non-perishable food to donate to a pantry or choose toys to donate to kids in need. Older kids can even research charitable organizations their favorite stores give to and look for more ways to support those causes.
As a former teacher, I was thrilled to see Lakeshore Learning joining forces with DonorsChoose—an organization that supports teachers all over the United States. For every order from the new Gifts for Growing Minds catalog, Lakeshore Learning will donate $1 to DonorsChoose.org.
Implementing a few of these ideas during the holidays (and throughout the entire year) will help instill a lifelong spirit of giving in our children.
Cheers to a season of giving!