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Teaching your kids the joy of giving

By staff
McClatchy-Tribune News Service (MCT)

The holidays are a beautiful time of year when we can gather with our families to celebrate the joy of giving, but with kids' gifts drawing the majority of time during the holidays it's all the more important to help kids understand just how fortunate they are. Here are some tips from for parents on how to keep kids grounded and focused on giving rather than getting during this holiday season.

Here are some fun activities that support family bonding and mentorship:

1. Charity Learn-A-Thon: Take some time this holiday season to teach your kids about some of the wonderful charities out there, and the important work they do. You can even turn it into a fun family trivia game by making flash cards that list charities' descriptions and getting kids to guess the name of the organization. Then, encourage kids to think about which causes touch their hearts the most. has over 75 charities listed on the site with descriptions, so it's a good place for kids to start picking up social awareness.

2. Experience the act of giving: Take a family outing during the holidays to volunteer at your kids' favorite charities or at a soup kitchen. This experience can give them a real sense for how important it is to help those in need, and can make lasting impressions and amazing family memories.

3. Pay it forward: It's easy for kids to lose sight of just how lucky we all are during the holidays, especially as family members shower them with gifts. To help kids remember and share some of their joy with those less fortunate, try instituting a pay-it-forward policy for holiday gifts: For every gift your kids receive, encourage them to donate a certain number of minutes of their time to volunteer for or donate a few dollars to the cause of their choice.

4. It takes a village, so get it involved: Inform extended family and friends about your mission and get them involved. Work together to teach and encourage your kids to give.

5. Manage cash gifts responsibly: Helping your kids manage their holiday cash gifts is a fantastic opportunity to start teaching them the basics of money and sets them on the right track to a steady financial future. Help them practice money management skills by setting pre-determined percentages for savings and giving as well as spending.

6. Wish list for others: When crafting holiday wish lists this year, encourage kids to add in items or donations for those in need, not just for themselves.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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