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Ways to Help Children be Givers

2018-11-20
As parents, we all of course want our kids to grow up to become happy adults. But we also don't want our kids to become the kinds of adults who only take from those around them in the pursuit of that happiness. Most of us want our children to be the kind of adults that doesn't just take from the world but also remembers to give. As we approach the season of giving, reevaluate what "giving" means to your and your family and let children experience the power of giving. It’s important for them to learn that a kind gesture can make a big difference in someone else’s day. 
 
Giving doesn't always have to be in the form of tangible objects. In fact, the best givers give intangible gifts.
For example, you can give:
- Courtesy
- Respect
- Sincere Compliment
- Thoughtfulness
 
So, how can we help children to become givers and not takers?
 

Model it

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Model giving by being giving in your everyday life. This may be as simple as holding the door open for someone or thanking someone who held the door open for you. Children learn by imitating adults, especially their parents; be the one to show them what it means to be a giver!
 

Talk about it

conversation with kids
Talk about what it means to give and how giving makes you feel. Ask your kids, what gifts made them feel the happiest and why. Was it really the object itself they were being given or the sentiment behind it? Point out when you see other people being giving and have a discussion about it. Talking about it fosters an environment for kids to not just imitate giving but think about it.
 

Practice it

babysitting
Practice giving; when there's an opportunity to give, have your child take part in it. If it's a tangible gift, have them help select, wrap and give the gift. If it's in the form of gratitude, have your child make a card or a picture to thank someone. Realizing that your small gesture can have a large impact on someone else's life is a powerful experience for children. Another easy way to practice giving is to have your kids go through and organize their toys/books/games. Have them set aside items for donation. This is an easy activity you can leave your babysitter to do with your kids!
 
Instead of only focusing on what gifts they are going to receive this holiday season, help your kids think about what gifts they can give and why that might be more important. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
 
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