Wednesday, January 7, 2015

On Teaching Kids to be Givers

In our world, so many of us are takers.  I want my kids to be givers, and for that reason, am intentionally trying to teach the spirit of giving and gratitude.

Here are a few ways we have been working on fostering these attitudes:

Giving Gifts

I believe that kids are never too young to give.  This Christmas the kids and I started working on their Christmas gifts (coasters) at the beginning of November to give us plenty of time to finish them before Christmas.

The kids created little "art work" on construction paper

Summer made different designs

Colton mixed the colors and ended up making handprints

After their artwork dried, they modge-podged their artwork onto tiles ($0.13 a piece at Menards!)

I hot glued cork board on the underside of the tiles to make them skid-proof and then I sprayed them with several coats of waterproof coating.

The kids handpicked which coasters would go to whom Grandparents//Aunts/Uncles

Summer helped make the labels.
The kids then had gifts to give to those who gave them gifts this Christmas.

Learning about and loving those less fortunate

Another way we have tried to teach our kids the spirit of giving is by learning about those less fortunate and involving the kids in loving them.

As we pulled into our garage after a week of Christmas celebration and a van full of new toys, I wanted to make sure the kids were aware that not everyone was lucky enough to have the Christmas that they did.

As we were putting away their toys, we went through their rooms and looked for toys that they didn't use very much anymore.  We talked about how other little boys and girls would love to play with those toys.  Each kid made their own decisions about which toys they would give to another boy or girl, and then we packaged them up with all the pieces in tact.  I wanted them, at ages 2 and 4, to see tangibly what they were doing, so instead of driving through a donation drive through, we went to a local food shelter.  While there we had some great conversations with the staff and the kids brought their toys to the office.  The staff talked about how these toys would be given to the kids of families who came in to get food.  The kids asked questions about the wrapped gifts they saw in the office and were told that these were birthday presents for kids who came in and didn't get birthday presents from their parents.  The kids took a tour of the food shelf and saw the limited options people had (as compared to our grocery store).  When shown the peanut butter, Colton asked where the jelly was, and they were told that the food shelf often runs out of jelly.  We talked about how some kids don't have jelly on their PBJ's.  As we got back into the car, the kids were both smiling to think of their trucks and dolls going to these kids. 

This experience has come up in conversation since then.  Today with windchills of up to -40 degrees, we talked about the homeless in our area that are trying to keep warm.  We looked at pictures of homeless shelters and talked about how some people do not have warm houses to stay in at night and sleep here.  The kids remembered the food shelf we visited and talked of helping these people.  They talk of wanting to get jelly for the local food pantry :).

Being Grateful

The kids (according to their age appropriate ability)  make "thank you videos" for those who have given them gifts and once they learn to write, are expected to write "thank you notes".  I want them to always take the time to say thank you for the generosity shown them.

Here Summer is taking a little break from writing her thank you notes ;)

Other ideas

I would love if you have other ideas on how to teach kids to be givers to leave them in the comment section below!  I think it is so important to teach our kids to have generous hearts and I would love to hear how you have done this or plan to do this so I can implement your ideas too!


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