Tis the season they say. My daughter is at the perfect age where she thinks birthdays and Christmas are all about the gifts. It’s so important to me to teach my kids that giving can be just as rewarding as an actual gift can be. I know it’ll take years…..and years of teaching them this but I do remember as I grew up giving a gift became just as fun as receiving a gift. Here are 5 ways to give thanks with your kids this season. I plan on doing every one of these on my list. Last year we did number one, three and four, it’s my mission to do not only all five of them but to do be sure I include both of my kids while checking them off of my to do list.
We always bring a bag of boxed and canned foods to the local drive they hold at the Hannaford’s we grocery shop at. They have 3 easy ways you can help each year and we loved helping last year. We also donate a toy to the toys for tots drive that is help each year. I know since my daughter is in the towns school system we have already donated food for the hunger, donated some Halloween candy to send off to the soldiers fighting for our country and will continue to help throughout the school year. I just don’t think you can show kids the good in giving too much, especially around this time of year when there are so many kids out there that need the help.
2.) Volunteer at a local Soup Kitchen.
I don’t have experience volunteering at a local soup kitchen yet but when I was in the corporate world the bank I worked for had a volunteer team that organized anyone and everyone that wanted to help out. I also have a friend in the area that donates her time once a month. She is an amazing Mother who works full-time, organizes plenty of play dates for her kids and always finds time to donate her time no matter how busy she is. I plan out reaching out to her and checking out the Homeless Shelter Directory to find shelters near my home where I can help out. I’m not sure if it’s something my kids can help me with but talking about it and showing them that Momma likes to help out our community is a great way to start teaching our children to be kind to the less fortunate that us.
3.) Retire/Donate old toys/cloths.
No one would ever want my sons cloths after he’s through with them, we call him DLM (dirty little man) for a reason! However we do donate our toys twice a year to the Salvation Army. My son’s birthday is in the Summer so every June we go through our playroom and we pick out toys that we haven’t used, clean them up and put them in a box. Last year our Elf on the Shelf donated one toy a week to Santa’s workshop. Every Sunday my kids would each pick a toy they wanted to donate and leave it under the tree. Alvin, our elf on the shelf would bring it back to the north pole for Santa to fix up and give it to another little boy or girl. That was a big hit. Another idea is if you go to any doctors office that has toys for kids to play with while waiting, bring a toy. Leave it there. Of course don’t choose your child’s favorite toy but we did this on accident one time and when we went back my son found it and wanted to take it home with him. I explained to the doctor that we left it here one time and the Doctor told my son it was the most popular toy there so I talked him into leaving it behind so the other kids could enjoy it. He actually walked out of that office with a smile on. Not so sure my daughter would have but I thought it was adorable!
4.) Get artsy craftsy. Make a Giving Tree.
I made a giving tree last year. We traced my hand, both kids and my husbands in different Fall colors, cut them out, and placed them in a plastic bag. Every few days someone took a turn writing what they were thankful for. I included my mother, sister and mother-in-law in this as well and by Thanksgiving we had a tree full of hands. Yes of course the first one on the tree was from my 5 year old, she wrote “Toys.” See why I’m trying so hard to teach these kids LOL.
5.) Cook a dish for the local nursing home or elderly neighbor.
I have neighbors who are so so good to my kids. They love watching us walk to and from the bus stop every day and they always stop to talk to me and ask both kids about their days. They are elderly and do just fine taking care of themselves but I’d like to make a dish with the kids or bake them something to bring over some time this season. There are also three nursing homes in our town that I plan on looking into to see if we could donate time or even play a game with someone that may not have family. I read this story the other day that made me see just how much a child can make an elderly persons day.
What are some of the ways you show how to give thanks with your children? I’d love some new ideas.