The holiday season is upon us! This is the perfect time of year to model for your children how to give back through volunteering. You are showing your children that good deeds not only help others who are less fortunate, but also allow your family to experience the true meaning of the holidays.
Be the change you want to see in the world – or at least in your own home. Have your kids help you sort through your kitchen cupboards to donate non-perishables. And the next time you are grocery shopping, mention to your kids that you are buying two boxes of pasta – one for your house and one to donate. Have your kids go to the cereal aisle and get a few boxes for home and a few to donate. Tell them you are going to clear out the coat closet and donate outgrown coats and sweaters. Ask them to look through their closets for any clothes that are too small for them so that they can join you in donating
Assist younger children to “Keep 2, Give 1”. I have learned that telling kids, “We are going to give away some of your toys and you are going to love it!” is not the optimal way to get buy-in for the “donating-feels-good” concept. But you are likely to have a more positive reaction if you explain to your child that they need to make room for new toys. Give your child some control over the process by allowing them to choose which items to donate. A good rule of thumb is that for every two toys your child keeps, one toy is to be donated. A wonderful place to drop off donations is Goodwill. (goodwillsocal.org)
Tweens love to look back at their childhood and realize they are now the “big kids.” On your next Target run, invite your tween along to take a stroll down memory lane and remember which toys they loved when they were little. Challenge them to bring $20-$25 of their own money to shop in the toy section for their favorite little kid toy that they can buy and then donate.
For teens, discuss with them the fact that there are kids their age with parents who are struggling to make ends meet. Assist them to recognize how hard high school must be for teens who don’t have what is needed to look their best. Take your teen to CVS or Walgreens and have them put together a grooming kit for a teenage boy or girl. Items can include a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hair products, make-up and shaving items. Toys and hygiene kits can be donated to LA Housing. (lafh.org)
Talk with your kids about making volunteering fun by going with a group of friends or as a family. The Big Sunday website (bigsunday.org) is chock full of organizations that need holiday volunteers. For kids and teens who love being outside, a service visit to Tree People (treepeople.org) is a lovely way to spend a day. In addition, most high schools have mandatory service hours so your teen can give back while also fulfilling a graduation requirement.
If you would like to talk about ways to encourage your child to enjoy service work, lets talk! Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Holidays, Jeri