Fostering the Spirit of Giving
Teaching children to naturally want to give and share is often a challenge. There are some real gems that just seem to grasp the concept very easily, and then there is the rest of us. From the time we are walking and talking it is much easier to not want to share and to think of ourselves first. So how can we help our nanny children learn to hone their spirit of giving? After all, it ‘tis the season. Here are some practical tips to foster this kind of character in children.
Model – When your nanny children see you giving to others, or simply going the extra mile for someone it sinks in to their little
souls. When you offer kindness to the person in the car line or you speak nicely to the cashier at the store or you help them with something, they see you modeling giving of yourself.
Donate – We can donate food, money, time, clothes and toys to so many different people and charities. With your family’s permission, make a plan to gather up items and donate them to children in need. Don’t be afraid to allow your children to see other children’s needs. When children are faced with difficult times it is up to the adults in their lives to help them find a frame of reference. So when you are able to help your children embrace sharing with others through donation and blessing other children then you are helping frame their world in a positive way.
Visit – Visit children spending their holidays in the hospital. Visit elderly people all alone in an assisted living place. Visit an animal shelter and spend some time petting, walking or cleaning up after the animals. Try pitching in with some yard work for a single mom or elderly person that can no longer get around.
Make gifts – Ask your nanny children who they might be interested in being nice to. Perhaps it is their teacher or a classmate in school, perhaps it is their parent or grandparent. Listen to them as they share who is important to them. Help them to make a gift. It could be as simple as a hand painted ornament, or you could help them create a gift basket with thoughtfully selected items. Allowing your children to have a physical part in creating gifts helps them connect with the joy of giving. It encourages them to think of others and to truly put a little of themselves into their special gift.
Compassion and kindness are character traits we would all love to see develop in our children. When we take the time to teach these to our children, helping them to see others in a softer light, then we will raise exceptional human beings. The added benefit, when we are trying to teach these to our children we will be reminded of what is important.