After a recent visit to my mother in laws house I hijacked the huge stack of catalogs from her ever increasing piles of junk mail, and brought them home to cancel. I have fairly successfully kept my name and address off of the catalog lists, so we rarely receive them. My children immediately spotted the colorful, exciting fancy toys catalogs and even my three year old has been pouring over them ever since. She gleefully points out all the “pretty girl stuff” they have pictures of. I am not sure she has made the connection that we can order the items, but she has made the connection that she likes looking at them, and wants me to sit with her as she looks at pink sparkly flowers, butterflies, dolls, and little girl craft projects. My son is in full blown pok`emon-itis, and has been pointing out everything pok`emon.
My tired refrain is “well, put it on your Christmas list, for Santa”.
I have abstained from taking the kids to the store in order to avoid the very distracting and seductive toy aisles displays, which have already overflowed into every walk way in our local stores. But even so, I find myself wondering how to curb the “I wants” and focus more on giving.
So how do we cultivate the spirit of giving in our children?
I have been reading the mommy facebook pages, receiving oodles of newsletters from experts in the field of parenting and child development, and watching advice fly by in all other formats on the internet. I have polled my mommy friends on the topic, and have come up with some ideas I will try, and wanted to share with you all! I also would love to hear how you have cultivated a spirit of giving and gratitude in your children!
1. I love this idea from facebook moms: On Christmas Eve have your children leave a bag of toys they are done with, for Santa to take to other children who would like them, along with the plate of cookies.
2.Have children help make holiday treats to take to the neighbors, involve them with cards, drawing pictures etc.
3.This one can be used year round, and applies to financial planning. Once your child is old enough to understand the concept of money, start using the three envelope system. One for saving, one for spending, and one for giving.
4.I get my children involved in helping take meals to families through the “take them a meal” tool on facebook, as we have had several families in our neighborhood who are in need of help due to illness this year.
5.Of course, donating to toy drives, taking a name off a local giving tree and picking out the a gift, have them help wrap it, decorate it…
6. Adopt a nursing home to or elderly person to visit, draw pictures for, or listen to if your children are old enough.
7. Spend time helping a neighbor rake leaves, or carry out the recycling.
Practice what you preach, your kids learn by example, and will prioritize what they see you prioritizing! How do you show your children how to cultivate and maintain a giving spirit? During the holidays and beyond?