Spreading the Holiday Cheer

September 14, 2014

While you’re out shopping for loved ones and bringing cheer to your families this December, remember those less fortunate. As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children the correct spirit for the holidays…the giving spirit!

“This time of year, we are inclined to think of others who are close to us as we decide which gifts to give, and plan to connect with family members near and far,” says Renee Thompson, director of curriculum at Kiddie Academy. “Children are excited about helping to decorate, bake and wrap presents for the holidays. Why not capitalize on this natural feeling of good will to teach your children the importance of helping others in need?”

Giving is a great way to spread holiday cheer and a stark reminder of what this time of year is all about. Whether you’re a Grinch or a Saint, Family Education has a few ideas for keeping the holiday spirit alive. Consider implementing as a family these strategies to help your kids feel generous all year round:

  • Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanza, it’s important to teach your kids the reason for the season. This will help them grow up to be generous and thoughtful adults. “Get the children involved with donating time or resources to help an underprivileged family, support our service members, cheer up the sick or elderly, or help homeless animals in a local shelter, “ adds Thompson.” Be sure to select a charity where the children can see or relate to the benefits of their giving.”
  • Everyone loves cookies, so why not bake these delicious treats for friends, family and neighbors? Allow the kids to join in on the fun by putting them in charge of the decorating. This will give each cookie a personal touch, which is icing on the cake…literally!
  • One of the easiest ways to instill the idea of helping others and doing charitable acts is to work with your kids on donating old toys and clothing. The best part about this strategy is it’s appropriate for any age and stage of life.
  • People tend to be rushed no matter where they go during the holidays. Help relieve someone’s stress by holding the door for them, grabbing their paper on the driveway and delivering it in person or giving up your seat to the elderly. Little acts of kindness sometimes have the biggest effect.
  • Encourage your kids to keep a smile on their face. Smiles are contagious – and can turn a frown upside down!

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