Many know this time of year to be the ‘season of giving.’ While it’s fun thinking about all the gifts to give our kids, it’s important to teach them how to be good givers as well. Doing this might be easier than you think. By building the ideas below into how your family functions and modeling being a grateful giver as a parent, your kids will learn to be the same.
Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Be Grateful Givers
Take your children gift shopping. Bring them with you to the store to pick out a gift for a family member or friend. Encourage them to express their opinion about what the recipient would like.
* Have a conversation about what the recipient likes and dislikes. This gives your child a chance to put themselves into their shoes and picture what that person would like to receive. Through practicing putting someone else’s wants in front of their own, they learn to be thoughtful and understand the purpose of gift giving.
Make holiday gift giving an expectation. To teach older kids the importance of gift giving, make being good givers an expectation in your household and a part of how your family operates.
Put their ideas into practice. If your child wants you to buy the person’s lunch behind you in the drive-thru line, do it. Kids will learn by watching you.
Don’t alter a gift your child is giving. Even tweaking the way your child wrapped the gift could make them feel they didn’t do a great job. By allowing the child to wrap and decorate the gift the way they want, it validates to them that they are doing the right thing by being a thoughtful gift giver.
Get them in the habit of thank you notes. Thank you notes are a simple, easy way to show gratitude, and they can help your child think about how the gift made them feel and how they’d like to use it.
Practice grateful giving yourself. Your children are watching you for how to behave, so let them see you being a good giver.
The original Christmas list was for who you were shopping for, not for the list of stuff you’re hoping to find under the tree. Involving your kids when giving gifts will instill the importance of giving this holiday season.
For more tips on how you can teach your kids to be grateful gifters, see the December 2014 interview with Michael Reiffer by Maranda of WOTV 4 Women!
Michael Reiffer, LMSW is a clinicial social worker who graduated from Calvin College with a BA in Psychology and earned his MSW from Western Michigan University. Michael is a clinical social worker currently at the Pine Rest Southwest Clinic and has over 18 years experience working with individuals, couples, children and families.