How You Can Teach Kids To Be Givers This Christmas

It's never too early to start teaching your children about the joy of giving.
It's never too early to start teaching your children about the joy of giving. (Flickr )

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. There is 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 show our kids we love them in tangible ways 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.

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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 percent more likely to donate money to charity if their parents make a donation.

2. Talk with your kids about why you're 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 percent more likely to donate. Parents, when you're 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 magnify the message.

3. Open their eyes to the needs. If you want kids to feel compelled to give, 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 see in concrete ways what they are giving toward, and the more you can help them see it physically, 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 not to be just something kids do but for it to become who they are.

Dale Hudson has been in children's ministry for over 27 years. He is the director of children's ministry at Christ Fellowship Church in South Florida. Christ Fellowship has nine campuses and ministers to over 25,000 people on weekends. Dale leads a children's ministry staff team of over 70 and a volunteer team of over 2,600. He has authored 100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge Your Children's Ministry100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge Your Preschool MinistryChildren's Ministry in the 21st CenturySunday School That Worksthe Top 100 book, and If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry.

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