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4 Tips on How to Teach Kids Generosity During the Holidays

The Christmas holiday season is upon us and it will soon be time for celebrations, gift-giving, and other happy occasions. For many parents, this is also a good opportunity to teach kids about caring and giving to others. Here are four tips on how you can teach your children generosity during the holidays.

1. Set an example

The first thing to do is to be an example of generosity yourself. If you simply talk about being generous but never show kindness and generosity toward others, it will be difficult to ingrain the habit in your children. By contrast, when you are generous, your kids will be inspired to follow in your footsteps and be kind and giving toward others. 

“By working together, the parent can teach the child many of life’s important skills as they relate to dealing with different kinds of people… A child will learn the importance of helping the less fortunate. Family bonding through philanthropy is something that can bring a family closer over a lifetime. … The key is to make the act of giving interesting to children so that they will want to make philanthropy a part of their lives,” Jean Shafiroff, author of Successful Philanthropy: How To Make a Life By What You Give, said to CNBC.

2. Cultivate empathy

Little children have a strong affinity for empathy, which helps them to pick up on the needs of other people. Kids are likely to help people with whom they have some sort of commonality or connection. Such a personal connection makes people’s needs harder to ignore, which can act as a strong motivator for children to be generous. This is why it is critical that parents cultivate the feeling of empathy in children.

A girl lying on the floor an posing for the camera.
If parents cultivate the feeling of empathy in their children, it will help motivate them to be generous. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

3. Let them see the impact

Children might find it difficult to realize why their act of generosity has any importance. After all, if they do not know the results of their action, how can they get excited to perform the action? This is why it is necessary to let the kids see the impact of their generosity.

For instance, suppose that your family decided to help out a nearby nursing home by sending cookies to them. Just because you bake cookies and the children participate in the activity does not mean that the kids will understand the importance of generosity.

Instead, you have to take the kids to the nursing home and let them distribute the cookies to people themselves. When they see elderly people being thankful for the gift, the kids will truly realize that their action led to the happiness of another person. And it is this feeling that will make them understand why they should be generous.

A child puts sprinkles on a tray of sugar cookies before they go in the oven.
When your kids see people being thankful for the cookies they helped bake it will make them understand why they should be generous. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

4. Making decisions

When deciding on what charity you will contribute to during this Christmas holiday, let your children weigh in on it. Being involved in such a decision will make them more aware of the necessity of generosity. Maybe it is about providing food for the homeless shelter in the neighborhood, or buying school books for underprivileged kids, or giving groceries to people who have lost their jobs to the pandemic and are in a desperate situation. Whatever charity your kids choose, support them wholeheartedly and they will be more interested in doing such things in the future.

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