The holiday season is now here. It is a time for renewed optimism, spiritualism and reflection. For many it is also a frenzy of travel, shopping, parties and eating. The holidays should also be an opportunity to incorporate old family traditions with our newest generation. You may also want to create new ones that they will want to pass on to their families in years to come. This is a great time for teaching children about charity. Here are a few ideas for how to get kids involved in charity.
Teaching Children About Charity
As parents we also have an obligation to use these occasions to share with our children the importance of giving. What does charity mean to you? Be sure to share that with your child. You might read them some scripture from the bible or personalize it with a story from your youth or about someone they may know. It is natural to want to do nice things for others in need if we explain to our children that sometimes everyone needs help. It is nice to lend that helping hand when you can.
We can support our kids by helping them find charities kids can participate in as well as creative ways to give to charity. Volunteerism and other charitable involvement helps raise self-esteem, develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills, as well as a sense of compassion. It also helps children to have a greater appreciation for their own bounty.
5 Creative Ways For How To Get Kids Involved In Charity
Add A New Twist To The Cookie Exchange
Let you children host a cookie exchange for a dozen or so friends. In addition to a plate of cookies, request that each family provide a non-perishable ingredient used to prepare a holiday dinner. Furnish each guest with paper, markers, pencils or crayons and allow them to create a greeting card. Pack the notes along side the ingredients and donate to a local homeless shelter or food bank.
Adopt a Soldier
Check with your local church, synagogue or house of worship. They usually have a list of congregants currently deployed who would appreciate a care package. Have your child create a wish-list of items he or she would like to donate to the serviceman or women. Then mail the package along with your holiday cards. Among the most requested items are: travel size shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, toothpaste and body washes, non aerosol deodorant (in a zip lock bag), lip balm, tissues, razors and baby wipes. Remember non-perishable candies, and snacks such a beef jerky, mints, gum and sample sized cookies. Aerosol cans, glass containers and items containing pork products are strictly prohibited. Soldiers’ Angels can also you get matched to a soldier.
Participate in a toy or gift drive.
Most shopping malls have a “giving tree.” Allow you child to select a boy or girl of similar age. Then purchase, wrap and drop off the gift back under the tree personally. Many hospice, Alzheimer’s or cancer organizations offer a star or ornament that can be purchased in memory of a loved one. You may also want to check with Toys For Tots to be matched with a child in need.
Visit a nursing home, veteran’s hospital or group home for at-risk youth or disabled adults.
Most people want to donate toys to children in hospitals, but the truth is, the census in hospitals is at its lowest during the holidays so you may want to check with local pediatric to see if they have a need. Alternatively, call a local nursing home or group home and schedule a time to visit with your child. Ask your child to donate his or her allowance to purchase a gift. Most residents would be grateful for the visit and to receive any gift. Popular suggestions are mittens, gloves, scarves, socks and hats, which are always in demand. Theycan be purchased at most dollar stores.
Suggest that your child’s school host a brown bag day.
Most schools have a student government organization which meets to create grass-roots drives. Have your child suggest that the school select one day where students and faculty will donate the cost of purchasing a school or cafeteria lunch to a family in crisis, within the school (someone undergoing expensive medical treatments, having lost a job or suffered a fire), or donate the proceeds to the local Salvation Army, Toys for Tots or other group conducting drives in your community. Ask you employer if you can do it the same day, to double the impact of your child’s effort.
Remember to acknowledge your child’s philanthropic efforts. Take a picture of your child as he prepares his package to donate to charity. Create a certificate of appreciation for your child and display it near the holiday decorations. Make sure that a simple thank you note is sent to all of those who participated in his collections, as well. Finally, when you gather around the holiday table, have each guest state what they are most grateful for; it is sure way to reinforce just how fortunate you are.
I hope you find these tips for how to get kids involved in charity helpful. What are your favorite tips?