Particularly in a city inundated with tourists during the holiday season, it can be hard to come down from the ‘gimmes’ even after the trees have been turned into mulch and the Chanukah menorahs have been put away for next year.
Claire Haas, vice president of education for Kiddie Academy, has some suggestions to help parents find teachable moments in the midst of the holiday craziness which also hold true for the rest of the year:
1. Children can help chose outgrown clothes, old toys and books to donate to a local charity (I would add that even passing things on to siblings, cousins or friends with younger children can help children learn to re-purpose their own no longer necessary stuff for the good of someone else.)
2. Help children get into the habit of donating time and talent, in lieu of material possessions. Making sandwiches and decorating bags for a soup kitchen, singing songs at an old age home, making cards and pictures for the children’s wing of a local hospital are all activities appropriate for young children.
3. Read books that highlight the importance of kindness. A recent survey of Kiddie Academy families named The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister and The Lion and the Mouse by Aesop as the top three books with a generous theme.
4. Point out examples of generosity that you witness in your daily lives. For example, talk about a neighbor who volunteers for a charity or the parent who volunteers at the bake sale. Explain that generosity is a choice, and applaud those who make time for kindness.
In terms of the holidays, I have heard a number a people talking about a really nice Chanukah tradition that I have contemplated adding to our observance of the holiday. Instead of 8 days of gifts, some families choose one day of the 8 on which children donate a gift to charity instead of receiving one. Seems like such a nice way to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday season…
I am currently working with Kiddie Academy to get the word out about their education-based childcare. Their proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum, supporting programs, methods, activities and techniques help prepare children for life. Visit the KA Family Essentials blog for more.