How to Teach Kids to Be Givers This Christmas

Christmas finds kids everywhere making wish lists of what they want for Christmas.  Kids and parents are bombarded non-stop with ads for the latest tech toys, video games, gadgets and must-have toys.  This has caused the natural bent for kids to be all about what they are GETTING for Christmas.  Nothing wrong with kids getting gifts at Christmas.  As parents, it brings us great joy to see our kids' faces light up when they open the gift they asked for.  Our joy comes from being able to tangibly show our kids we love them by giving them gifts at Christmas.

So, why would we not want our kids to experience that same joy that comes from giving?  During Christmas, opportunities abound for us to help kids understand and experience what it means to be a giver.  One of the most valuable things we can teach our kids is generosity.  And what better time of the year to do this than Christmas?  Here's how to help your child experience the joy of giving.

1. Model it for them.  
Kids are more likely to be generous when they see their parents being generous.  Studies show that kids are 18% more likely to donate money to charity if their parents make a donation. 

2. Talk with your kids about why you are giving.
Studies also show that when a parent makes a donation and talks with their child about why they made the donation, the child is 33% more likely to donate.  Parents, when you are preparing to give that extra offering at Christmas or give a donation to a charity, sit down and talk with your kids about why it's important to be generous.  The impact will be exponential in your child's life.  Yes, actions speak louder than words, but actions accompanied with words magnifies the message.

3. Open their eyes to the needs.
If you want kids to feel compelled to give, then you have to show them why their help is needed.  Put faces to the need.  And when possible, give them personal interaction.  This might mean taking them to the homeless shelter to help serve meals they are donating toward or receiving a picture and letter from a child they are helping in another country.  Kids want to concretely see what they are giving toward and the more you can help them physically see it, the more generous they will be.

4. Show them the impact.
Kids (and everyone) are more likely to continue to be generous when they can see the impact their giving has on others.  Loop back with your kids and show them how their giving made a difference.

5. Make it personal.  
To experience the full joy of generosity, it must be tied to personal sacrifice and investment.  In other words, don't just give your kids money to donate.  It should be money they have personally worked for or raised.

6. Let them decide what they will give and who they will give it to.
Generosity doesn't come from being forced to give.  It also isn't fostered in being rewarded for giving.  It must be voluntary and self-directed.  As parents, our role is to present options for our kids and give them the choice.  Don't force it on them.  Present the needs, have the conversation and leave the choice up to them.

7. Teach them that generosity is about more than money.   
Teach kids that generosity is a way of life.  It not only involves being generous with your money, but also with your time and talents.  It should not be something we do just at Christmas, but all the time.  The goal is for generosity to not just be something kids do, but for it to become who they are.

Here are some ways local churches can partner with parents to teach kids to be givers at Christmas.

Christ Birthday Offering

12 Ways to Teach Kids to Be Generous Givers