Giving Tuesday has me thinking about what I can do with my children to teach them to give to others. A lot of people would use today to encourage volunteering, but there are very few, if any, places that you can volunteer with children as young as mine.
The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as ‘Giving Tuesday’. It’s kind of a strange few days. First you have Thanksgiving, we are all supposed to be thankful for what we have. Then Black Friday where we trample others and rush out to get crazy deals on all kinds of purchases. Small Business Saturday we are encouraged to support small businesses (instead of the big name stores we just wiped out the day before). Sunday must be the day of rest. Monday is Cyber Monday to get all the crazy deals on items purchased online. Then the next day is Giving Tuesday. Can we please make up our minds?! We are back and forth between being thankful, being giving, and getting everything we can. It’s exhausting!
According to givingtuesday.org:
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.
About two weeks ago we took all the toys out in the playroom and had the boys go through them all. We explained to them that there are some kids who don’t have as many toys and could use the ones they don’t play with anymore. We helped them decide what was staying, and what they could part with. I was actually amazed at how well they did. Tyler was very concerned about the other kids and kept telling me he was helping them have toys to make them happy.
Overall, we donated 3 trash bags full of gently used toys, plus a few larger things. I may have snuck in a toy or two that annoy me, but they haven’t missed them yet. It felt great to clean out the playroom, and help others at the same time. Tyler and Ryan also seem to be happier with fewer toys because they aren’t overwhelmed.
Another way kids can be giving is to have them help bake something for neighbors. My boys love to help in the kitchen. Just last week, we pureed our leftover pumpkins that we never carved at Halloween and brought some puree to all our neighbors to use for their pumpkin pies. That’s not exactly baking, but it was still giving them a gift of food they could enjoy.
Clean the Park
Tyler already gets upset if there is trash laying around at the park or playground and cleans it up. Take the kids to the park, and have them help clean up anything that may need cleaning and then let them play. Of course, be careful of what they are picking up. We usually find candy wrappers and empty water bottles at our park because it is a bus stop for the middle schoolers.
Visit a Nursing Home
What better medicine is there than to hear a child’s laugh? Bring your children to visit a nursing home, or an assisted living facility. Maybe bring some cards or games they can play, stories to read. Let your children interact with the residents and it will bring smiles to everyone’s face.
Make Cards for First Responders
Making cards is a simple, fun craft for kids. They can use regular construction paper, crayons, stickers, etc. to make their own thank you cards. Then deliver the cards to a local fire station or police station and let the children say thank you for all they do to protect us. This also gives children a chance to learn that these people are here to help us and not to be afraid of them.
Notes in a Book
At home, have your children help write (or decorate if they can’t write yet) some encouraging and positive notes. Take the kids to the library and put them in a few random books. When someone gets the book home and starts reading, they will find a small note in there that will hopefully make them smile.