Christmas can get commercial and sadly, kids can develop a bit of an “I want” attitude towards presents.
It’s important then, that we instil in them an understanding that there are many, many people who are less fortunate than them. And that Christmas is an opportunity to show thoughtfulness towards others. It’s about giving, not just receiving.
Here are some ideas for helping kids to think beyond themselves this festive season.
1. Give a toy to a drought or bush fire affected kid
Kids find it hard to part with their toys, but with Santa on his way, chances are their toy boxes need a cull to make may for the new.
Givit is an Australian organisation that accepts donations of ‘stuff’ that is desperately needed by others. Right now they have appeals for families affected by drought and bush fires. Families who are really struggling or have lost everything – including the toy box.
3. Give a shoebox to a child in need
Give your child the gift of perspective, by helping him to realise some kids don’t even have the basics, but that he can help them!
Operation Christmas Child is a program run by Samaritan’s Purse which asks people to simply fill a shoebox for a child with essentials from the below categories:
Something to wear
Something to play with
Something for school
Something to love
Something for personal hygiene
Once the box is filled and received by the organisation, they will ship it on to the needy recipient.
3. Give one less present
This little exercise will help your child to understand just how much they have and that it’s kind to share:
Ask her to write a Christmas wish list. Then tell her there is a child who will not get any presents this Christmas. So would she be willing to cross one thing off her list and gift it to that child?
One Less Present invites parents to ask their children just this, then donate the cost of the gift at onelesspresent.com.au. This value of the gift is then donated to fund life-changing therapy and support services for kids who have been neglected or abused.
4. Make a sick kid smile in hospital
Help your child to understand sick children in hospital can’t just go out for a scooter ride or play in the backyard like they can. Some are in bed and undergoing not very nice procedures. Some even spend Christmas day in hospital.
The Children’s Hospital Foundation likes to give these kids the thing they crave most – the ability to just be a kid.
As such, they always welcome donations of new toys, books, colouring books and pencils, small tubs of playdough and bubble pots that will brighten a sick child’s day and distract them during treatment.
5. Adopt a Grandy and show them some love
Not every old person is a granny or grandpa, and some elderly people may be very lonely living in a nursing home or an aged care facility, with not many visitors.
6. Create a reverse advent calendar
Put others in your child’s mind in the lead up to Christmas by creating a reverse advent calendar. This is where you collect an item each day in the lead up to Christmas to donate to a food bank, charity, shelter or refuge.
Think along the lines of tins of food, clothing donations, toys or other things you know the organisation needs. Then each day, ask your child to place the gift in a bag to go to the charity.
The beauty of this idea is it’s a tangible way for your child to learn about the needs of others.