Parents know how easy to get caught up in the consumerism of the holiday season. We ask our children what they want for Christmas. Then, we get them to make lists and sit on Santa’s lap to talk all about getting more stuff. Despite this, the true meaning of Christmas is about love for others. To help teach children to focus on generosity, I have compiled a list of 24 acts of kindness for families this Holiday season.
When the toy catalogue hit the front steps of our house, my kids lept with joy. In no time, they had markers in hand and were feverishly going through each page circling almost every single toy.
Okay, sure, they skipped out on the baby toy section. Otherwise, there are circles around everything.
My problem with consumerism…
While I love to get in on their excitement, I don’t like the idea of the holiday season centring on getting more stuff. We already have and donate so many toys. On top of it, one of the main goals of my parenting is to raise children who want to make the world a better place. Because of this, I don’t want my kids to be solely focused on getting more stuff.
So this morning as I sat down to my coffee, I decided to brainstorm with my kids. I prompted them to think of acts of kindness we can do in the 24 days leading up to Christmas. (You can adapt this to lead up to Kwanzaa, Hannukah, Omisoka, or any Holiday you and your loved ones observe. This list is also applicable any time of the year.)
Some of the acts of kindness my five-year-old came up with included sharing toys, hugging a friend, and saying nice things. Using his sweet ideas, we came up with 24 prompts you can adapt. These random acts of kindness act as a reverse advent calendar where you and your family give instead of receive.
Promote Gratitude in Kids By Participating in Acts of Kindness as a Family
In order to promote gratitude, it is important to have regular dialogue around why we want to be generous towards others. We can start this conversation by talking about whywe want to show kindness to others. For example, we don’t just want to say we love our family, it’s also good to show our family how much we love them. It also helps to talk about the less fortunate. For instance, we are going to donate food to people who don’t have enough money to always have the meals they need. You can find tips on age-appropriate ways to explain homelessness here. Then, brainstorm your own ideas together. This helps children feel invested in the random acts of kindness. When children see first hand that there are people who need our support, it helps them feel a greater sense of appreciation for what they have.
[P]eople who practice gratitude feel considerably happier (25 per cent) than those in a control group; they are more joyful, enthusiastic, interested, and determined.
– Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley