December 13, 2009

Making the Holidays Memorable Part Two: Charity

A huge part of giving the holidays meaning for your children is giving to those less fortunate.  Most people manage to give to charity around the holidays, either a little or a lot.  But there's a difference between casual giving at your convenience and having a real commitment in your life to giving to charity.

Giving your kids a passion for charity can be hard, especially if this wasn't a part of your life growing up.  Here are some tips for focusing in and making the experience memorable.
  • Let your kids help you choose the charity.  Are your kids passionate about animals?  Maybe they'd like to donate to a pet food and supply drive at the humane society or volunteer their time there.  Or maybe it's helping other children that really gets your kids motivated.  Help them find something they really care about.  
  • Have everyone contribute.  If you're volunteering, find a charity that will let everyone in the family contribute (some charities or organizations have age limitations).  If you're giving money or shopping, decide beforehand how much each member of the family will contribute and shop together with a family budget.  
  • Talk about why giving to charity is important.  It's true that actions speak louder than words, so actually following through and giving to charities each year is important.  But it's also important to explain why giving is important.  Let your kids know how you feel about it and what it means to you.  Don't just write a check and send it off without discussion.  
  • Let your kids take the reins.  Most kids will be thrilled to help once they catch your excitement (hint: excitement).  So let them choose toys for the local toy-drive.  After all, who knows what kids want better than kids?  Shop together for a food-drive and have your kids pick a few things they would miss from their holiday dinner.  
  • Give more than once a year.  The holidays inspire us to think beyond ourselves and be more generous. But to teach our kids that generosity isn't seasonal, we need to give at other times of the year as well.  Make it a part of your family's routine and your kids will grow up with the idea that giving to charity is a part of life, not just a part of Christmas.  

1 comment:

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