At this time of year it is easy to for us, and especially our children, to focus on our list of wants and the material things that come along with the holiday season. But this time of year also gives us the opportunity for us to teach our children, from a young age, the purpose of giving and of service. There are many ways that you can give of your time and serve as a family that will make this time of year more memorable for everyone.
Service teaches our children, not only to be grateful for the things which they already have, but also teaches them empathy and compassion for others. These attributes will help your children navigate through relationships their entire lives. Also, service allows families to bond together in ways that traditional family outings will not.
Many people would like to volunteer with their children but don’t know where to go or what to start with.
Here are a few suggestions that are family friendly ways to get involved in your community and to have a more meaningful holiday season with your family.
Choose a name off of a giving tree and shop as a family for the child. Choosing a name of a child that is a similar age to your own will help them relate and make it more special for your child.
Bake cookies and deliver them to a neighbor who may not have many visitors or treats this holiday season.
If children are a bit older, visit a rest home. Arrange a small group to sing carols and to visit with the residents. Make sure to call ahead and schedule a time for your visit.
Write and decorate holiday cards and send them overseas to the troops. This website can tell you how.
Have your children choose some of their own gently-used toys to donate to a local charity like Salvation Army. When they are giving of their own toys, they learn the joy of sharing with those who are less fortunate.
Stuff new, warm socks or a resealable bag with granola bars and water bottles or other non perishable items to give to homeless men and women that you pass. Keep these care packages in the car so you will have them handy when needed.
Make sure that you explain the activities to your children and explain what you learned and enjoyed about the activity. Most of all have fun and celebrate the experiences. By doing this your children will learn to love to serve and make lasting holiday memories!