Saturday, November 19, 2011

During the Holidays-Teach the Gift of Sharing

Article submitted by Kathleen Thomas on behalf of Primrose Schools

The principle of sharing is one that really cannot be overemphasized to children. While most children will go through a phase of thinking that everything they see or touch belongs to them exclusively, parents still need to actively teach the value of sharing one’s possessions with others, educational day cares may help but it is best if this act is taught at home. The holiday season is perhaps the best time of the year to help young ones understand how enjoyable sharing and giving to others truly can be, and with a bit of creativity, parents can ensure that this entire Christmas time is filled with fun lessons in giving.

Since the holiday season is really centered on gift giving, this time of the year is perfect for parents to model ideal behavior in this area. Involve children in the process, explaining to them that they can find joy in giving presents to their siblings (or friends); since most children will not have the monetary means to actually purchase such gifts themselves, parents should budget in such a way that they can actually support the bill of any gifts. Later, when children are older and understand the importance of money better, they can graduate to buying presents for others themselves.

A perfect way to involve the whole family in the gift giving spirit is to “adopt” a less-fortunate family in your local community. If possible, choose a family that has a child around the same age as your own child. Make a shopping trip with the sole purpose of purchasing presents for this other family; include your child in the gift-purchasing decisions, especially for those gifts for the other family’s children. This way, your child will be taught the joy of giving to others; at the same time, you are serving as a role model for sharing your own (relative) wealth with others who might not be as blessed. This latter lesson is most likely one that your children will remember into adulthood.

Another great way to teach children how to share is to encourage them to produce a “Christmas Pageant” together. The play can be as short or long as the children would like. However, let the planning of the play be completed mostly by the children with minimal adult interaction. While this idea might not include sharing tangible items, it will encourage cooperative play, sharing ideas, and sharing the spotlight—all ideals that are important for forming a giving attitude in young minds.

Finally, take the holiday season to teach lessons in sharing by planning many family activities like baking Christmas cookies, decorating a gingerbread house, and reading Christmas stories together. Most family activities, by their very nature, demand that all family members work together to accomplish a common goal, and it is only through the sharing of ideas and objects and the respect of others opinions that these activities can be executed enjoyably. Even when planned activities don’t go entirely smoothly (such as a fight breaking out over the snowman cookie cutter), these moments can be used to teach the importance of sharing. Additionally, since many Christmas stories are centered on the importance of gift giving, reading these stories to children will also encourage kindness to others.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.


Being Tazim said...

I like your idea of adopting a family with a child the same as as your own. It's great for the child to relate to someone else but at the same time knowing that they have something they can offer the other.

MrsHillyG said...

This reminds me of something the Jewish community in Detroit did in the 90's when Russians started immigrating to the US. My family adopted a Russian family that had kids around my sisters' ages. It's a fantastic idea and I'm glad to see someone reviving that idea!!

Turning the Clock Back said...

there are so many things to teach our children over the holidays besides the fact that we get lots of presents! My kids love to bake with me!

Mom vs. the boys said...

I like the idea to adopt a less fortunate family

Beeb said...

Great ideas!

The House of JCJEE said...

I agree on this. Christmas is the best time to teach our children the value of giving and sharing. In fact, our favorite fast food store displays a big box during this season where kids and adults are encouraged to put their old toys and books, which will be given to other children in orphanages. When they saw the box, they promised they will be bringing some of their old toys and stuff that they will donate and share to other kids. It made me feel proud for my children.