By Michelle Dell’Aquila
For many children, there is not any better time than Christmas.
The idea of receiving gifts is exciting and treasured by a child. The holidays can teach some core values that children can use the entirety of their life. Gift giving and the rewards that accompany gift giving are some of the most unparalleled benefits a child can receive.
A few of the internal benefits your child can receive by giving are:
Gratitude– A feeling of thankfulness is formed especially if giving to people in need. Children can see and appreciate the things they have.
Mindfulness– Giving cultivates mindfulness. Children become more conscious of their environment and the people in it and how those people act, treat them and are treated in return.
Compassion– Giving rather than receiving is an act of compassion or kindness. Children learn how to be kind to others which improves the quality of life of all involved.
Increase Your Focus On Giving Rather Than Receiving
A season focused on giving can be created in your household. One of the key questions you can ask your children is, “how do you want to give back this Christmas?”
This question opens the doors to a meaningful conversation about giving and kindness. The holidays are an excellent time to implement a season of giving that can grow to be utilized throughout the year.
Action is the key to giving. Talking to your child about giving and receiving and the reasons why have their limitations. Demonstrating the act of giving allows the children to see first-hand how it affects everyone positively. A few family giving ideas are:
Donating to a food bank
Sponsoring a person or family in need
Visiting the local hospital or nursing home
Letting the child pick a charity to support
There are many ways to give back. Serve food to the homeless, go through toys and donate any items your child has selected, donate monetarily, or buy presents for impoverished children or families. By giving, your child will begin to understand that kindness and caring help others.
Remember That They Are Kids
The holidays are a time full of wonder and excitement for children. No school, sweets, family, trips, and of course gifts, add to the chaos of it all. Try to keep some routine in their daily schedule and remember that events such as family gatherings or lots of sitting can be quite demanding of a child. Plenty of physical activity and sessions of downtime will keep frustration to a minimum as the season progresses.
They may not fully understand the gift of giving, but it is never to early to start. Giving back is a learning process for children that opens the doors to kindness, overall well-being, and gratitude. By giving, your child receives the best gift of all.
Michelle Dell’Aquila, M.A. is a licensed child therapist who is currently the director of CDA, a program geared for infants to 5-year-old providing developmental assessments, advice to parents at home and for teachers in school