Take time this holiday season to teach your kids about sharing.
“I want” and “I need” may be just two of the phrases kids and teens use most often this time of year. It can be hard for children – and even parents, too – to remember what the holidays are really about. So now is the perfect time to introduce your kids to the spirit of giving.
Earlier this month, our hospital received a donation from a family that was truly overwhelming. Logan, 5 years old, and his family, raised just under 1,800 books for the patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Logan is diagnosed with Charge syndrome and has been a patient of our hospital since the day he was born. Through the support of their friends, employers and community, Logan’s family was able to nearly double their goal of 1,000 books – teaching young Logan the power of coming together for a cause.
Just this week, we had a visit from a young man named Liam, age 11, who went caroling with his buddies, and raised $400 for our hospital. This act of kindness was completely unprovoked by parents. Liam was inspired by Faith, the young girl in our holiday commercial, who says she wants to spend the holidays at home.
Liam says that realizing kids his age were in our hospital fighting for their health, he was moved to do something about it. When volunteerism becomes a part of a child’s life at a young age, it becomes something they want to do. Once children realize the struggles that others have, a new light of gratitude shines on what they have to be thankful for.
There are great reasons to get kids – of all ages – involved in giving:
It feels good to give and to help others.
Giving and volunteering can strengthen your community.
It can also strengthen your family as you spend quality time together doing something important.
Choose to help an organization or group that fits with your family’s values and the things you believe in. Our website has a good KidsHealth article about giving and being less materialistic. Here are some of the ideas where you can help out in your community and beyond:
Sponsor another family in need or purchase some presents for less fortunate children through a toy donation program. Let your kids pick out and wrap the gifts themselves.
If your kids love animals, talk to your local animal shelter. Many distribute staples like pet food to low-income pet owners over the holidays and need volunteers to help.
Give back to the elderly in your area. Help out at a nursing home; visit with older people who could use a little extra joy and company around the holidays; bring gifts or meals to those who are home bound; or lend a hand to elderly neighbors with decorating, cooking, or wrapping presents.
Volunteer your family’s time by helping out at a children’s hospital or homeless shelter or building or refurbishing housing for people in need.
Community service can teach kids that giving comes in many forms, not just as presents. Emphasize that giving of their time, effort, and caring can mean so much more — and last longer — than any gift money can buy.
Foundation, Former Assistant Director of Developmental Communications
Kelly Abrams is the former assistant director of development communications at the Foundation at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
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