Tis the season to be jolly! It’s also the season of giving back to those in need. This time of year is great to teach your children, your own or your nanny kids, about charity and giving back to the community. Charlotte’s Best Nanny has come up with a few activities you can do together to show your children that the holiday season is about giving- not just getting.
Take lunches to people who work over the holidays. Police stations, fire stations, hospitals and even retail stores are full of busy workers on holidays. Make some delicious lunches to take to the workers in your area who don’t get a break over the holidays.
Visit a nursing home. As a family – or with a group of your kids’ friends – visit a local nursing home. Call ahead to schedule your visit. Take cards and decorations to brighten up nursing home rooms, or sing a few carols for the residents.
Pack stockings for homeless people. Buy some cheap stockings, and have kids pick out practical and fun items to stuff in them. Some ideas include granola bars, water bottles, toothpaste and warm gloves or socks. Keep the stockings in your car, and hand them out to homeless people you encounter on your daily commutes.
Bake cookies or casseroles. Cooking with kids isn’t the most mess-free option, but this is a really easy way to involve your kids in giving back with their time. As a family, pass out homemade cookies to your local fire department or police station or take some frozen casseroles to an elderly neighbor or single mom.
Adopt a family. Many local organizations and religious groups can help you sponsor a family in your area to shop for over the holiday season. Use some of your family’s designated holiday money to buy or make gifts for another family in need.
Clean out the toy box. The holidays are a great time for kids to donate some of the games, clothing or other things they own – and clean out some clutter while you’re at it. Even preschoolers can pick a few lightly-used toys to donate to kids who don’t have any. As an alternative, take kids shopping for new toys they’d love but will donate to a local shelter or nonprofit.
Babysit or wrap gifts for donations. Older kids and teens can offer babysitting or gift wrapping services in exchange for a donation. The money they earn can sponsor a local family or be donated to a favorite charity.
Donate to a food bank. Even little kids enjoy picking out food items at the grocery store. Take your kids on a special shopping trip to pick up their favorite nonperishable goods for a local ministry or food bank. They’re always in need of extra food around the holidays.
Host a party. Sometimes hospitality is the best way to give back. Host a holiday party with your kids’ help, but focus on inviting those who are often forgotten, such as the new kids at school or neighbors and co-workers with no family nearby.
Tackle a bigger cause. Older kids are especially sensitive to the world’s injustices. Talk with your kids about problems – whether local or worldwide – that they’re passionate about. Then, do some research about the issue to find practical ways to help. Assist your kids in sponsoring a bigger fundraising event to help tackle this issue.
If you want to raise compassionate, selfless kids, the best place to start is by modeling compassion and selflessness. The holidays are a busy time for all of us, and by taking time out of the season to serve others together, you’ll teach your kids an invaluable lesson.
We hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday this year!