De-cluttering before Christmas & Teaching your Kids Life Skills
By Dr Rosina McAlpine (Parenting Expert to offer you support)
The holiday period can be a fabulous time to support your child to learn about giving and gifting. In my conversations with many mums and dad over the years, it’s clear that parents can see the downside when children receive too many gifts – including becoming expectant and unappreciative.
And it’s not just that, when children receive gift after gift after gift – it takes away the “excitement” and the “specialness” of receiving a gift. We don’t certainly want to rob our children of that!
Today, families understand the importance of raising well-rounded children who are socially aware and have empathy and care for others. As parents, we need to lead the way role modelling caring and kindness by involving our children in family gift giving and helping others. If learning about altruism doesn’t come from home, where will it come from? It’s not just about having the conversations but actually experiencing the joy of giving with our children. Here are some of our personal examples we’ve enjoyed over the years. Maybe it will give you some ideas.
- Cameron’s first birthday my colleague Ursula who lives in the UK gifted a school desk to a child in Ethiopia – I loved the idea and it started me on this journey of gift giving for our son’s birthdays and Christmas. More recently, my friend Natasha, asked us to make a donation for her daughter’s birthday rather than a gift, so we contributed towards a water well being built in a village and sent her the details.
- In our family, at Christmas time our son Cameron and I buy a gift together and wrap it, donate it for a child. We’ve also bought pencils for children overseas.
- For many years we purchased the Big Issue magazine every week from Harold – our local vendor. In the early days, Cameron asked me why we do that? I used that as an opportunity to that the Big Issue supports homeless people to earn an income – so we talked about how by purchasing a magazine each week we were supporting homeless people.
- More recently, we raised money and donated food to a local soup kitchen that provides regular meals to homeless people. We’re going to do the same this Christmas.
And it doesn’t have to be about gift giving or donations, we also all help out as a family when others need our support – for example, we helped Cameron’s grandparents pack their books, CD’s and DVD’s as they’re moving house – Cameron felt fabulous being able to help.
This way our son is experiencing the benefits of helping others – how good it feels – with the aim of it becoming an integral part of who he is as a person in adulthood. My aim is to support Cameron to be a caring, empathetic and generous person as an adult.
What kinds of giving and support for others do you enjoy with your child? We’d love to hear your ideas and stories.
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