The holidays are upon us once again, which means your kid is bound to catch a horrible case of the “gimmes” at some point this season. With so much excitement about receiving, it should come as no surprise that many children have lost sight of the true meaning of the holidays: giving. So, how can you keep the gimmes at bay and get your youngster psyched about being charitable? Try spreading a little cheer this time of year with a give-back activity the whole family can enjoy. To get you started, we’ve rounded up 5 good deeds that help kids experience giving firsthand:
The family that donates together, uplifts the community together
Making a charitable donation to a nonprofit can be impactful to kids if they’re involved in the process of giving. As a family, choose a charity that everyone can agree to support. Spend time doing research together and don’t forget to ask your kid for their ideas on who they would like to help — not only for the holidays, but year-round.
Once you’ve selected a charity, start a donation jar and invite your child to share what they can, such as portion of their allowance or gift money. When the jar fills up, make a donation to your charity of choice. Whether large or small, monetary contributions mean a lot to nonprofits and those they help. At the YMCA, the generosity of our donors goes toward providing children, youth, families, and adults across the GTA with the support they need through our youth housing programs, child care services, health and fitness programs, camps, and more! And, together, we’re working to build stronger, healthier, and happier communities.
Become a volunteer!
Donating your family’s time is a fantastic way to support children’s understanding of the impact that charitable giving has on the needy. Try volunteering as a family at a soup kitchen, animal shelter, or — if you’ve got an adolescent-aged kid — encourage them to join the YMCA’s team of volunteers. Fostering a spirit of volunteerism in your child will not only educate them about community responsibility, but it’ll build their character and promote the development of essential school skills.
Create a care package
The holidays are known as a time to celebrate with family and friends, but for the homeless and many seniors, this season can exacerbate feelings of loneliness. Creating care packages containing the essentials (such as warm socks, hand lotion, and books) makes a world of a difference to those who are alone during the holidays and in need of a friendly reminder that someone cares. Be sure to check with a shelter or long-term care facility to learn about what can be included in your care packages and how they should be delivered.
Thankful thank you cards
With the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we may forget to show others the appreciation they deserve. This holiday season, recognize the efforts of those who have done something nice for your family or community by gifting them a homemade thank you card. Taking the time and care to craft a card with a heartfelt message of appreciation demonstrates to kids the importance of gratitude and that small acts of kindness can have a big impact.
Be kind to feathered friends
As you teach your child the joys of giving, don’t forget to include a project that lends a helping hand to local critters. One of the easiest ways to be a friend to neighbourhood animals is by making backyard treats for hungry birds. Although there is some uncertainty over the benefits of feeding birds during winter, research has proven that doing so helps certain species survive the colder months.
Instead of picking up a bird feeder from a hardware store, get crafty with the family and create a DIY feeder. This fun give-back project is so simple that even preschoolers can participate!