For parents who are striving to instill a sense of empathy, giving and nurturing in their child, volunteer opportunities abound that can help enlighten your child to understand the need to support one another in the community, country or globally.
Gifts play an important part of the holiday season however encouraging your child to give a gift of 'time and talent' is a good introduction for kindling the spirit of Christmas. Encourage each family member to contemplate how they can be of service to one another and exchange gifts of 'time and talents' in lieu of material gifts between siblings.
The act of volunteering doesn't have to take on mammoth proportions to make a difference. Simple acts of helping out a neighbour, sick relative or friend in need can help inspire the spirit of giving. Seniors who are isolated or don't have any extended family nearby will benefit from a visiting volunteer whether it be to share some time socializing or receiving help with odd jobs in their home. Likewise, a neighbour recovering from an illness or injury could probably use some help with meal preparation, or domestic chores or an incapacitated pet owner may appreciate an offer to walk their dog.
The best part of the holiday season is that it brings families together and embarking on a special project is an effective way of teaching the spirit of Christmas.
Consider these ideas to peruse in your quest to discover the joy in giving of oneself:
Cathy, a mother of two, has created an annual Christmas tradition of purging gently used books from the family bookshelf and donating them to the local family crisis shelter.
"Kids outgrown books as they get older and children in the crisis shelter can benefit from them," Cathy explains. "I have always included the kids in the delivery of the books to the shelter. One year, as we were unloading our boxes of used books, a young child came into the hallway, peered into the box and selected a book. My kids were thrilled when they witnessed the little boy sit down on the ground and start to look at the pictures. Up to that time, they had never really had the chance to make the connection between giving away their books and witnessing another child reading it."
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