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The Gift of Giving
Children love to receive gifts but we forget that they also like to give gifts. This is a great time to instill empathy and compassion for your children by setting a good example of charity. No matter how tight your budget is, and we all have trimmed off a little fat in this economy, there are ways you can make a difference without digging deep into your pockets. The author of The Giving Book, Ellen Sabin, says that “It helps children realize they can make a difference. Even preschoolers benefit from being involved with a cause.” Here are some suggestions for you to share with your child.
Donate toys, clothing and books – Don’t push your child to say goodbye to their favorites, let him decide which toys and clothes he can donate. You want your child to feel empowered and not feel a loss. Goodwill, Salvation Army, Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, foster home associations, homeless shelters and The Box Project are a few are a good organizations. As you encourage your child to donate old toys, talk to him about the idea of sharing and caring for others.
Project Linus – Together, you can make a blanket and donate it to a child in need. Let your creative spirit flow. Visit www.projectlinus.org
Food Pantry Donation – Every time you go to the grocery store, have your child pick out a can of vegetables or a box of cereal to be placed in a basket and taken to the local food pantry. Have him color and decorate the paper bag that he is placing the items in.
Buy Your Gifts from Charitable Organizations– Many large charities like The Nature Conservancy, The Make-A-Wish Foundation and UNICEF have online shops that will save you a trip to the store. Go to charitynavigator.org for a list of over 5,000 nonprofits that would appeal to you and your child. Talk about what these organizations do and how your gift can make a difference.
Donate Unused Furniture – Cleaning out that basement or attic? Have your child help you clean the furniture. You can go to nationalfurniturebank.org (enter your zip code to find an affiliate) Look for other places such as homeless shelters, churches, or Habitat for Humanity and explain to your child why this is a great idea.
Remember, this has also another perk, charitable contributions are tax deductible!!!!
Read more about your child’s emotions and developing empathy by reading the second chapters in the My Baby Compass Series, Birth to Two, Two to Four and Four to Seven.
– Kathy Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series
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