Since it is the holiday season I wanted to start teaching my kids that giving to other people that are less fortunate is important. The best way to do this for us was to go through there playroom and all their toys and find things that were gently used and put them in a bag for other kids. I decided this timing was also perfect because lord knows they will be drowning in new toys from the family and Santa once Christmas hits, so cutting our supply in half was necessary! This was more for my 2 1/2 year old as my other daughter is one and couldn’t care less. My 2 1/2 year old didn’t really grasp it but I feel it’s important to practice this early so kids begin to realize the importance and grow up knowing this. I started about a week before it was actually time to sort through toys; I explained to Audrey that there were lots of kids who didn’t have any toys and that we could give away some of the ones she doesn’t use anymore and put them in a bag that we will give to other kids so they have things to play with. She stared at me blankly at first but gave me an enthusiastic yes! So I was excited to get the process going the following week. I got a black garbage bag and told her it was time to sort through toys and reminded her why, she said ok with a smile, but as I started going through things and asking if she still used something it would suddenly become one of her favorite toys of all time! She created a, not so small, pile of toys that she had barely even glanced at throughout the year, and claimed she loved them and began playing with them, while I sat there rolling my eyes. Wel that’s what I get for actually expecting a two and a half year old to grasp the concept right away for being a giving person. I decided to take a different approach! I took out toys I knew she loved and pretended I was going to give them away, she immediately shot up from her collection and formed another pile and played, with all her attention on protecting those toys I was able to sneakily start the real process. So I was a little devious and went behind her back, quite literally, and grabbed the toys I knew she wouldn’t miss, placed them in the bag and went through the rest of her toys without her help. The black bag came in handy as it hid my transgressions, and kept from a utterly horrible toddler meltdown. I collected toys, mainly to give away, but even sorted through some that had dog teeth marks in and threw those away. After the task was complete I tied the bags tightly and told Audrey, “Okay! All done! We have stuff for other kids in this bag,” as I held it up she clapped, not knowing I had taken her pile of “treasured” toys while she was playing with her actual favorites. I even managed to get rid of a couple noisy toys that she only played with to annoy me(truthfully, if it had been a tough day she would catch on and decide to annoy me, you can’t tell me any different! She knows which buttons to push!). All in all, it was a successful venture and our house is less cluttered already. Neither kid knows the difference and just like I thought they haven’t mentioned any toys I’ve given away! Year 1 of giving was great, around the same time next year we will go for round 2, they will be at an age of understanding more so that should be interesting!
As I was finishing up this blog post I saw a very heart warming Facebook status, my aunts son truly got the meaning of giving this year! He is a five year old boy in kindergarten and his school had a “Christmas store” for the kids to buy things for their family. He had money saved up in his piggy bank and told his mom he really wanted to buy things for his family so he took his money with him to school and bought gifts for his sister and his parents. When his mom saw he still had money left she told him he could buy a toy for himself, he said “no, I am only buying stuff you, daddy, and sister today.” Not only am I obviously so proud of my him and that he loves to give already but am happy the school is implementing things like this. Learning to give may start at home but having opportunities like this allows kids to keep practicing this and embedding this characteristic into their everyday personalities!
What are some of your favorite ways to give (Actual things or even your time) during the holiday season?