With the holidays just around the corner, Canadian families are gearing up for another season of spending and consuming. With so many advertising messages aimed at kids, it’s not easy for parents to make giving seem as great as receiving. But it is possible. In celebration of GivingTuesday, here are some tips to help teach children about giving heading into the holiday season.
Use GivingTuesday as a conversation starter. "Hey, did you know it's GivingTuesday? Why don't we pick one charity together to give to today." You can talk as a family about causes that are important to you, maybe one that had a specific impact on your kids personally. Do some research together to find out more about charities that interest your kids. If the charity has operations near where you live, consider going together to visit or to volunteer.
Volunteering together can be a great bonding experience for you and your kids. This teaches them that even if you don’t have a lot of money, you can still have a big impact. Seeing their chosen charity in action can be the beginning of a lifelong commitment. Here are some volunteering resources: Take a volunteering quiz or get matched with a volunteer opportunity.
Suggest that the kids direct part of their own money to charity. This can be done from allowance money, savings or birthday money. Check out this Moonjar or piggy bank designed to teach kids about putting money aside for giving – great idea for a birthday or Christmas gift!
Gather some food from your own pantry and bring it to your local food bank together. If you don’t know a food bank near you, try this search tool from Food Banks Canada.
Clean out your closets …clothes, shoes, extra toiletries, kitchen stuff, toys, books, and school supplies. Collect what you don’t need and donate it to a shelter or program that helps needy families. Ask your kids to help choose and carry the items and take them with you when you drop the items off.
For younger children, you can use birthday parties as a time for giving to others. Your child can choose to skip the birthday gifts and ask for donations to a favourite cause. Or ask invited guests to bring a new or gently used to or book to be donated to a local charity.
Check out this videoabout one cool granny who inspired a generation of givers. Maybe you would you like to start your own Birthday Club!
Implementing some of these ideas will teach your children that charity starts at home. They will learn that helping others is a way of life, and it can be a valuable family bonding experience.
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