During the Holiday Season, it seems people are in a more giving and generous mood. There are many food and toy drives for the needy, some make donations and some volunteer their time. But, what can we do to teach our kids the importance of all this giving and helping? And, how can we keep that going the rest of the year too, not just during the Holidays?
We also want our kids to be kind to others everyday. Other children, their teachers, siblings, teammates, etc all deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. It may the “Golden Rule”, but it doesn’t always come so naturally to little ones.
I love this time of year, and I always find some way of helping where I can. Last year I donated toys, clothes, and food, and volunteered at Next Door Solutions (domestic violence shelter). It was a great experience and I can't wait to do it again!
I have been "on the other side" as some would say. There have been times in my life where I was in need and I was lucky enough to have people reach out and help me. I'm a firm believer in the fact that you always have something to give to help others. Be it money, items, or simply time. Any gesture is appreciated by those in need. I'm also a firm believer in doing good because it's the right thing to do, not for notoriety or credit. Just help when you can, how you can and feel good knowing that you did!
We decided to start up our Holiday Toy Drive this year as a way helping our community. Nicole and I thought it would be great for us local Moms to help out local families and children in need. Since we are lucky to have such great relationships with many of the business owners around Campbell, we were able to pull it all together very quickly too! We are so excited about our first big event around town, and hopefully we will help children in need have a very happy Holiday Season this year!
Claire and I have talked a lot about giving things to those who need them more than we do, and how important it is to be kind and take care of others. She is a very sensitive little girl and I think she actually “gets” it. (About as much as an almost 4 year-old can, anway!)
It is so important to me to pass this giving spirit on to my children and to set a good example for them. They may be small now, but they are always watching and learning! I can only hope that when they get older, they too will think of others and help in any way they can.
This topic is something near and dear to my heart. I grew up doing a lot of volunteering. My parents always wanted to include me when they worked in the community and now that I am a parent, I can appreciate that it wasn’t always the easiest thing to do!
Bringing your kids anywhere can always take some extra steps, but making something like “working” seem exciting is a difficult task and somehow they always managed to make it exciting for me! I grew up in San Francisco and my Mom and I volunteered with Project Open Hand (helping deliver food to people living with HIV and AIDS) and my sister and I coached a bowling team for the Special Olympics (also very dear to me as I have an aunt with Down Syndrome). I always loved it and enjoyed my time there.
My current task is teaching my kids how important giving back is, as my parents did with me. We always seem to have too much stuff. Our house is small and it’s overflowing with things we never use and don’t need. I don’t know where it comes from! I think it multiplies when I’m not looking because I SWEAR I do not remember purchasing half the stuff we have.
Every few months my husband and I go through our piles of crud and a lot of it is still in really good shape. This is where the lessons begin. My children are too young to take volunteering, but they are not too young to plant the seed of how important it is to give to others. When we have things we need to bring to Goodwill or donate to food banks, I always explain to her where we are taking it and why. She is just starting to understand there are people who are less fortunate that need a helping hand.
When Bethany came up with the idea for the Mom Squad Toy Drive, I thought it was an amazing idea! Here was a way for us to give back to the community that has been so wonderful to us, especially to children who are the most vulnerable and need the most care. When I brought my toys to donate to various stores, I was so surprised by Evie’s response. Not once did she ask to keep the toys, and not only that, she dropped toys in the bins for me! I was amazed that this little person who is still grasping the concept of sharing was willing to give toys away. Maybe she understood where they were going, and maybe not, but either way, I’m so glad that she’s picking up on how important it is to give back.
I’m also hoping this rubs off in everyday life, and I think it is. I watch her at school and how she cares so much for someone who is sad. Or when her brother gets hurt and he’s crying she cries too because she is so worried about him. This could be just in her nature, but I’m hoping just by showing her how to be kind and how to respect others, she’ll grow up with that in her heart and keep it with her forever.
We all want our children to be kind and respectful, but it doesn’t always come naturally and is not always easy to teach. But, every little lesson in kindness is worth taking the time for!
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How do you teach your kids about being kind and thinking of others? We’d love to hear from you all! Please share with us in the comments below.