From gimme to giveaway: teaching children the joy of giving

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Giving isn’t natural – especially for a child. We raise our children to receive gifts and treats just because. It is so easy to learn how to receive a gift. But how do we teach our children how to give and be joyful in giving?

Now is the best time to teach your child to be a joyful giver. Aside from the obvious benefit of blessing another’s life, teaching your child to give early grow into productive and loving contributors to the world.

Kids who volunteer are more likely to have a greater respect for others, leadership skills and an understanding of citizenship that carry over into adulthood.

  • Child Trends, 2012

Giving should be encouraged all year round, not just on special occasions. It is easy to share our good fortune during the holiday season when spirits are high and charities are ever-present. However need exists all 365 days of the year. Let’s not forget to give throughout the year to be a strong role model for our children.

No one has ever become poor from giving

Giving enriches us. Anything lost is gained from the opportunity to make a difference. You may not be in a position to give financially. And that is okay! Teach your kids that there is more to giving than money.

Take your children to volunteer time at a charity event. Create Christmas cards from anything spare you may have around the house.

Giving requires sacrifice

While all giving is good, giving that involves a sacrifice teaches your children the value of giving. One blogger from Organized Christmas taught her children about the sacrifice of giving in this clever way:

Our family's Advent traditions focus on sacrifice. Each of us chooses an Advent discipline: some act or duty that will save money in our household. Even a three-year-old can be "light monitor"; turning off the household lights when no one is in the room… In the center of our Advent wreath, we keep a little jar. Each night at dinner, we light the Advent candles and report in on our discipline. Has the light monitor turned off the lights? A quarter goes in the jar. Did Mommy eat her peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich instead of a restaurant lunch? That's another $4. As Advent progresses, the jar fills with the tangible results of our sacrifices. This fund pays for our holiday giving.

To make the lesson real, let the children take the whole jar--pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and all--to the store to pay for the "angel" gifts. Each coin stands for one small act of sacrifice, one little selfless step to help others. Salesmen will cringe when they see you coming, but your children will see the direct connection between their little sacrifices and their ability to give.”