Ideas for Encouraging a Spirit of Giving

A boy volunteering at a food pantry

Help your children under stand that Christmas is not (just) about them Here are some Ideas for encouraging a spirit of giving:

Give when you get

Encourage your kids to give away a toy every time a new one is received, or brainstorm how to "pay forward" favors from friends and neighbors. As your kids make their wish lists for Christmas, have them also make a "Give List" — a list of items they plan to make, donate or buy for friends and neighbors in need.

Talk the walk

So many of life's lessons are caught, not taught. Have you inadvertently modeled the language of discontentment, or can you say you've modeled a heart of generosity? In your conversations around the home, and in your family prayers, help your kids "catch" positive language that reflects your family's desire to give and help others.

Think outside the box

Not every Christmas gift has to come wrapped in pretty paper or be fresh from the oven. Encourage your kids to think of how they can use their time and skills to give to others. Is there a neighbor who needs help with yard work or snow removal? Is there a friend at church who would love to learn how to ice skate or play chess? Can teens baby-sit for a busy couple who have just welcomed a child into their home?

Make it a team effort

Spending family time meeting others' needs, by way of service projects or ministries, helps your kids realize how much they really have. It also creates healthy patterns of "others-mindedness." As your kids grow older, church ministries and other service opportunities will seem less intimidating because giving will have always been a part of your family culture..

This article first appeared in the December 2012 issue of Thriving Family magazine. If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. Get it delivered to your home by subscribing for a gift of any amount.

Copyright © 2012 by Kate Motaung. Used by permission. 

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