How to Practice the Art of Giving

By Lee Scott, Contributing Writer and Goddard School Educational Advisory Board Member

Sharing and giving are an important part of learning, and the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to help your children develop these important skills.

Here are five ways you and your family can practice the art of giving:

Create a Plan for Giving – Ask your children how they would like to give back. You may be surprised at what they come up with. Implementing their ideas will help build their confidence and commitment to the activity. Decide together on how to accomplish their ideas.

Give a Gift That Keeps on Giving – Make a “Giving Book” with your children. Think of five things they would enjoy doing for someone at home or for a neighbor or a relative. Write or draw the things on index cards, decorate the cards and staple them together. Present their “Giving Book” to the relative. This is a gift that keeps on giving and extends the fun beyond the holidays. It also helps your child develop confidence in the things they can do for someone else.

No Money Needed – It is important to have children experience how to give beyond buying a gift. Donating time and effort is just as important. Many foundations have projects that are designed just for children. For example, you could make artwork for a local children’s hospital or help plant trees at a nature reserve. Whatever your child’s passion is, connect it to giving back.

Donate Your Joy – Ask your children to select gently used clothes, toys and decorations around their room that they could donate to others. You can choose the charity together. Take your children with you to donate the goods so they can see where they will go. Talk about who might receive them and how they may feel when receiving them!

Checking In about Feelings – After your children spend time giving back, ask them how they feel. Most likely they will have a positive response and want to do it again. Both the act of giving and the conversations about giving help young children make the connection between feeling good and giving back.

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