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Teaching kids about helping others

Mom and young girl hold holiday gifts.

It’s that time of year… when our kids are making their lists and checking them twice. Full of wishes for the best new toy or the coolest new shoes. But it’s also the time of year when many parents begin to think about how to teach kids a compassionate spirit and desire to help others. It can be challenging, but here are some tips to help share the reason for the season. 

Be the model

The truth is our kids want to be like us. So, one of the best ways to teach kids about helping others is to model generous behaviors for and with them. Show kids how excited you are to be kind this season, give back and find ways to donate or volunteer to help others.

Talk about helping others

It’s never too early to talk about giving back and helping others. Try starting the conversation about helping others when you are in the car, at dinner or during the bedtime routine. Sometimes kids surprise us with how much they’re listening! Here are some phrases to try:

  • Do you have any ideas for how we can give back to our community this year?
  • When we go into the store, would you like to look for a gift for a family in need? Then we can donate it.
  • What are ways we could help our neighbors this year?

Let them guide the giving

Not only does giving back make us feel good, but it can also be fun! Find what excites your child and encourage a cause they would enjoy. Are they budding entrepreneurs who want to host a hot chocolate stand and donate the money? Or maybe your child is a crafter who would love to donate crayons and coloring books to kids in the hospital. Tapping into their interests can make giving more personal.

Find a new tradition

Family holiday traditions make us feel more connected, and a tradition of giving back can’t be beat. Create a yearly rhythm of ways your family gives back. Not only will this inspire your kids, but it also means easy planning for you! Here are some ideas:

  • Host a virtual toy drive for children in the hospital this holiday season and get your friends involved.
  • Search the pantry for delicious food to donate to a local food bank like peanut butter, canned soup, rice and pasta.
  • Assemble Happy Kits with activities for kids to use while they are at medical treatments or doctor's appointments. 
  • Join the Junior Champions program at Children's Mercy and earn recognition for your child's generosity. Children will earn rewards after each generous act. 

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