Thanksgiving is one time of year when we all need to take a moment to reflect on life’s blessings and give thanks. In this day and age, when we all are moving at a hectic pace, how can we teach our children the importance of giving?
According to Samantha Stern, training and development director at Ebenezer Child Care Centers, “It’s important to remember that understanding the importance of giving doesn’t come naturally for children, and that as parents, we need to serve as role models in helping our children understand this important quality.”
Stern says that there are several things you can do to make a difference in the way your children see the world.
According to Stern, “You should teach your children from early on that being part of a family means giving to others by helping each other out.”
She also says that you should take time every day to show gratitude to your children. Thank them for helping you. Show appreciation for good behavior, and recognize when your children put forth extra effort. Soon you will have your children trying harder to please you and feeling better about themselves in the process.
Finally, Stern says that it’s important to celebrate special days in your family’s lives from birthdays and anniversaries to Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.
“All of these occasions provide the perfect opportunity to take time in our hectic lives to let others know how grateful we are to have them in our lives, and let them know that they are so special to us.”
In Your Neighborhood
Stern suggests that when a new family moves into your neighborhood, you and your children bake them a treat, and then go over as a family to introduce yourselves. This teaches your children how to be good neighbors and giving individuals.
Another great idea is to have your family help someone in your neighborhood who is elderly, injured, or handicapped. Many times these individuals need some assistance with lawn care or household projects.
“Taking the time to do a few random acts of kindness with your children goes a long way in leaving a lasting impression about how easy it is to give to others,” says Stern.
In Your City
Stern suggests that families identify one local nonprofit organization that helps those less fortunate to support each year. This could include a homeless shelter, an elderly care facility, or a local food bank. Then, as a family, make it a goal to do something positive for this organization each season.
“Donate the clothing and toys your family has outgrown, bake treats for the people from this organization, or stop by to visit to show your children first-hand how lucky they are to live the life your family leads. It will be a rewarding experience for your entire family which will instill the importance of giving for years to come.”
Ebenezer Child Care Centers, Inc. will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on “Teaching Your Children to Give” on Tuesday, November 10, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at their Wauwatosa location in the UnitedHealth Group office building located at 10701 West Research Drive. Come learn more about teaching your children to give and enjoy dinner on us. This event, which is sponsored by Children’s Hospital’s Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Fund, is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Please call 414-643-5070 to register.