Believe it or not, it’s almost Christmas. And as parents, we have the tough job of teaching our children about the gift of giving to others instead of just receiving. For young kids, the giving gifts to those around them can be a tough concept to grasp. After all, to them it is a lot more fun to receive the gifts. But if they have siblings, teaching them to give is something that is do-able and can be quite a bit of fun for everyone in the family. Below are some ideas on how to get siblings in on the joy of giving, cheap ideas to make it affordable, and ideas on how to get the whole family involved in giving back to the community.
Getting the Kids in On the Joy of Giving
There are several ways you can teach your children about the importance of giving over the holiday season. Giving trees, volunteer work, and donating old toys are all a great way to get the kids involved and to show them that there are those less fortunate than them that could use a little love over the holidays. But if you have more than one child, you can easily share the spirit of the holiday by tasking them to buy gifts for their siblings.
At first this sounds more like a chore for the parents. Mom and dad will inevitably end up getting (and paying) for the gifts from sibling to sibling, adding more stress to their plate and less money in their wallets. But this doesn’t always have to be the case. Here are X ways siblings can spread holiday cheer to one another and learn about giving to family, all without hassling mom and dad:
Divvy It Up
One of the hardest parts about sibling gift giving is keeping it organized. Here are some ideas on how you can divide up the joy of giving so each sibling has a share:
- Allow each child to shop for each other sibling. So if you have 3 children, each child would buy for the other two siblings.
- Secret Santa. If you have a lot of kids, allow them each to draw one name and shop for that sibling.
- Rotate. If you’re super organized, you can have the kids rotate siblings each year. But that means keeping a list each year of which child had which sibling!
Buying gifts for each sibling to give to one another, or even just to one other sibling, can get costly. Here are some cheap ways and alternative ways to do the shopping for their siblings:
- Dollar Store or Dollar Spot. Give each child a dollar or two to spend on their sibling(s) at the Dollar Store or the Dollar Spot at Target or Wal-Mart.
- Save Up. Depending on your children’s age, encourage them to save their allowance or birthday money to buy gifts for their siblings when the season comes. This is a great lesson in saving money for a longer period of time, but is dependent on your child’s age. You may want to suggest they save a certain amount (say, $10) so they have a hard line to follow.
- Give them a Limit. Give each child a limit of how much money they can spend on each sibling.
- Arts and Crafts. Instead of buying a gift, each child can be tasked with making a gift for their siblings. A necklace, a tie fleece blanket, or a picture frame are great ideas that don’t cost much and teach kids about sticking with a project for their loved one.
- Coupons. Another alternative to a traditional gift is coupons. Ideas include:
- 1 day of cleaning your room
- 1 of your chores
- 3 days of packing your lunch
- Have a date. Instead of a traditional gift, siblings can take each other on outings like a bounce house play area, out to lunch, to a movie, or simply to a neighborhood park to play together.
As your kids get older, it becomes easier to teach them about giving back to others in other ways than just gift giving. Your family can always implement ways to give back to the community but also ensure that siblings are still recognizing each other over the holiday season. Here are some ideas:
- Donate to a charity of their choice. Let your child decide which charity to donate to in the name of their sibling. This will make them think critically about causes that are important to their sibling and to use research skills to find different charities.
- Volunteer together. As a family, find a volunteer option to do together to give back. Even though siblings aren’t doing it for one another, they are still doing it together which is just as important.
- Become Santa. If your kids are no longer Believers, let them choose a local family from their school or in their neighborhood to give back to. Together they can plan a gift (or a few small gifts) to secretly leave at this person’s house over the holiday season. Not only will this give back to those in need in the community, but it will also teach your children cooperation with one another.
There is no better way to spend the holiday season than with family. Teaching your children at a young age that family and giving back to others is the cornerstone of what the season is about is an important concept to instill at a young age. Whether they are gifting to one another or they are helping others in the community as a family, they will be learning the joy of gift giving, learning more about each other, reinforcing special skills like cooperation, spreading holiday happiness, and enjoying one another’s company. And that’s the best gift parents could give to their children.
Photo Credit: Heather Anti