H is for Holidays: 7 Ways to Teach Young Children About The Joy of Giving
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The holiday season is upon us once again. Excitement is in the air, decorations are being hung, parties and gatherings are being planned and gifts are being thoughtfully selected. It is a time of joy and wonder, especially for young children. Although I recognize that wishing for and receiving gifts is a fun part of the holiday season, it is important to me to teach my children about the joy of giving as well. It is never too early to start this lesson even if it is just by modeling your own joy of giving. This year we will be participating in some of our traditional ways of giving, but we are also embracing a new cause. For the fourth consecutive year, Huggies and Meijer have teamed up to provide diapers to families in need this season through the Huggies No Baby Unhugged program. I can’t wait to tell you more about it. Are you ready? Let’s talk about 7 ways to teach young children about the joy of giving this holiday season:
Read Books About Giving
Our family loves to read! There is no such thing as too many books in our house. We read every day for fun, at bedtime and to learn new things. One of our favorite books about giving is The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving written by Jan & Mike Berenstain. It is a perfect lesson about how good it feels to give to one another rather than thinking only about ourselves.
Another classic book about giving is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Would you believe that I still have my copy of this book that I received as a Christmas gift when I was a child? I love the discussion this book generates about selfless giving. My kids love this one!
What are your favorite books about giving?
Make Gifts Together
Every year we make handmade gifts together for family and friends. We create artwork, make simple ornaments and bake cookies and sweet treats together. My girls get so excited to offer their handmade gifts to special friends and family members. I have found a ton of simple DIY ornament ideas on Pinterest that are appropriate for even the youngest of children. Some of my favorite projects from years past have been fingerprint reindeer ornaments, snowman ornaments made from acrylic balls, salt dough thumb print hearts and salt dough Santa handprints. All four of these projects were simple and fun to make together.
Donate to Others
We talk together often as a family about the importance of helping others in needs. Donate a toy to a local toy drive or social service agency. Donate food and personal care items to a food pantry or homeless shelter. Donate hats and mittens to a mitten tree. Adopt a family. Make a financial contribution to a good cause. Volunteer. There are so many great ways to donate to people in need. My girls feel important when they place those canned goods in the donation basket or hand some pocket change to the bell ringer. They have been able to participate in donating in simple ways from even the youngest ages.
Participate in the Huggies No Baby Unhugged program
Another great way to give this holiday season is through the Huggies No Baby Unhugged program at Meijer. Did you know that some families have to make the impossible choice between buying food or buying diapers? Or that diapers are not covered under food stamps or WIC? Can you imagine what it would feel like to not be able to provide fresh, clean diapers for your child? For some of us, having to make the choice between food and diapers is unimaginable but for many families in our communities, it is a painful reality. Kimberly-Clark first brought the issue of diaper need to the forefront in 2010, when a groundbreaking Huggies study revealed that one in three U.S. moms suffer from diaper need, the inability to provide fresh, clean diapers for their babies. This is a pretty shocking statistic. In my professional work as a social worker treating mothers suffering from postpartum depression, I see diaper need as a concern often. To learn more about diaper need, you can visit http://nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org/.
How can you help? Head over the your local Meijer store between November 13, 2016 and January 2, 2017 to help support families who struggle to provide enough diapers for their children. For every pack of Huggies purchased at any Meijer store, Meijer will donate $1 and Huggies will donate a day’s worth of diapers to the National Diaper Bank Network. In total, Meijer will donate up to $10,000 and Huggies will donate up to 150,000 diapers to the National Diaper Bank Network through the Huggies No Baby Unhugged program to help ensure that babies throughout the Midwest receive the hugs they need in the form of diapers. How cool is that?
We love Huggies Little Snuggler Diapers for their soft fabric-like feel and great fit. I also feel good about using a product that is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free on my little one’s delicate skin. Huggies Natural Care Wipes have also been a favorite baby care product in our house since our first baby was born over four years ago. These wipes are strong yet soft and can handle any mess. I know that using Huggies products will keep my baby’s skin clean and healthy. Plus, when you purchase Huggies products at Meijer this holiday season, not only will you take home great quality diapers and wipes for your own family, you will also help other families in need. Madeleine and I think that is pretty amazing!
Another great way to participate in the Huggies No Baby Unhugged program is by using the New Huggies Reward App. You can donate your Huggies rewards points to the National Diaper Bank to help support this great cause too. You can learn more about the Huggies Rewards Program and New Huggies Reward App by clicking HERE.
Practice Giving Small Gifts
We moved into a fun neighborhood full of young children recently. To experience the joy of giving, we made some small holiday gift bags for the little girls across the street. My girls picked out a small toy and some holiday candy for our new friends – nothing extravagant. I think I spent no more than 10 dollars total. We wrapped the items up in some small gift bags and delivered them across the street one evening after dinner. Although it was really hard for my kids to think about giving away those fun little ponies we bought at the store, their sense of accomplishment and excitement about surprising a friend made up for it. I was so proud of them both.
Helping children pick out gifts for their teachers and caregivers can be fun too. Involve them in wrapping or packaging the gifts. Plan for how and when to deliver the special gifts and grow their excitement. My girls love carrying their teacher gifts into school on the last day before holiday break. We made these fun reindeer teacher gifts last year using lip balm and including a gift card to a favorite store on the back.
Sign Greeting Cards Together
Involve your children in addressing your holiday greeting cards. Have them “sign” or scribble on cards and envelopes to send their “greetings” to special friends and families. Or better yet have them create a drawing or small piece of art to send along. My girls love both sending and receiving mail. This is a great precursor to writing thank you notes together too. Yes, I am still a believer in sending a handwritten note of thanks. My mom taught me the importance of this practice and I hope to pass it on to my children as well.
Take Children With You to Spread Holiday Cheer
Last year I made some small jars of holiday potpourri with a cheerful note to give to our neighbors at the holidays. We delivered them in person and enjoyed spending a few minutes catching up with neighbors and wishing them a holiday season of good cheer. I took the girls with me door to door and they loved it. My oldest daughter Ava, who was three at the time, exclaimed “This is even better than Halloween, Mom!” and was highly disappointed that I didn’t have neighbor gifts for the whole subdivision. I had a good chuckle about that but was also bursting with pride at how much they enjoyed the aspect of giving. Whether it be delivering neighbor gifts, visiting a nursing home, thanking service providers for their hard work all year long or buying Huggies diapers at your local Meijer store to support the Huggies No Baby Unhugged program, it is important to involve your children and model giving no matter their age.
As I have reflected on the ways I teach my young children about the joy of giving, it has been striking to me how simple it really can be. Young children love to be included, feel important and do nice things for others. I hope you have been inspired to try out some or all of these ideas. It really is never too soon to start teaching the joy of giving. Tell me in the comment section how you plan to include your children in the joy of giving this holiday season. I hope you will consider participating in the Huggies No Baby Unhugged program this year as well – it truly is a great cause. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season filled with love, hugs and good tidings.
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