It’s the holiday season and for most kids (and many adults), the focus may be on what they are getting, or want to get for Christmas. This would be an excellent time to change the focus from getting to giving, and in the process, instill a life-long sense of empathy and compassion in your children. Kids of all ages can benefit from a family focus of being kind and giving to others, and there are many ways to do that.
It’s Never Too Early to Volunteer
It’s Never Too Early to Volunteer is the title of an article in the December Parents magazine. The entire issue is centered around kindness and raising children who are “kind, thoughtful, and big-hearted”. Even toddlers can help their community and the world at large by helping you pack a box of non-perishables for the local food pantry, or sorting recyclables and putting them in the bin. Another idea from this article is to have your children decorate holiday-themed place-mats for a local nursing home or make card that say, “Thank you” and give them to people like clerks at the grocery store or the mailman or veterans.
Older children can collect items for an animal shelter or put together a box of toys they have outgrown and donate them to a center such as the Boys and Girls Club. They can also clean out their closets and gather clothes they don’t wear any more to donate to one of the organizations that regularly collects them for various charities.
Volunteering Is Good for You!
Not only does volunteering have wonderful benefits for those in need, Dr. Phillip Brown, a fellow at the Center of Applied Psychology at Rutgers University, says that volunteering “offers children of all ages a bounty of important values such as “fostering empathy, bolstering self-esteem, developing practical skills, building civic responsibility and providing means of exploring new interests.”
Volunteering as family is a team-building activity according to Sarah Taby, MS, a licensed professional counselor. She says, “You get to walk away and feel as a unit, you did something great today, and that your family contributed in some way.
Ready to find a way for you and your family to volunteer? There are some good tips to consider before you get started and also a list of possible volunteering projects. Click here to read more.
Don’t Stop Now!
There is a wonderful Christmas song that says it all I think. The song is titled, “The Secret of Christmas”. The last words of this song say, “The secret of Christmas is not the things you do at Christmas time, but the Christmas things you do all year through.”