It’s officially the holiday season, and we couldn’t be more excited here at Children’s Lighthouse! We’ve made our own lists, checked them twice, and are ready to shower our loved ones with gifts and attention.
We’re often most eager to give gifts to our littlest family members this time of year — what’s cuter than a child as their eyes light up when they’re given a special gift? However, it’s important to take advantage of this season of giving by teaching children the significance of giving to others.
Older children might be eager to do this, but sometimes younger children struggle to grasp the concept of giving when all they want to do is receive. To them, the holidays are all about opening presents and the newest toys at the store. Luckily, there are simple but effective ways to change this mindset. You might ask your children how they feel when they open a present from someone they love and explain how wonderful it is to be the person responsible for making a loved one feel so happy and excited. This teaches empathy, and the actual act of giving will be rewarded with a rush of feel-good emotions, which can set your child down a path filled with pride, generosity and kindness throughout their lives.
Consider putting in some volunteer time with your kids this season to implement this lesson. You can use your children’s interests to guide your selection process here — the best volunteer opportunities will align your child’s interests with the chance to give to others. Does your child love to help cook? Bake some cookies for the local fire station! Do they enjoy drawing? Have your child design greeting cards for a local senior center. These types of activities also show that money isn’t necessary to give something meaningful — sometimes the most generous gift is simply spending quality time with someone.
Teaching children the importance of giving — not just receiving! — all throughout their childhoods will ultimately help them become happier, kinder adults, which might just be the best gift parents can give them. From ours to yours, happy holidays!