Giving to others who are less fortunate is a virtue that should be followed every day of the year. But in these days of festivities it is even more important to keep those less fortunate in mind.
The holiday season offers an optimal time to teach young people about the value of helping others. In the classroom, activities focused on philanthropy can broaden students’ understanding of the culture they live in and make students aware of the challenges people around the world face in meeting their basic human needs.
Encouraging youth to help others outside of school hours can help offset the materialistic frenzy often associated with the holidays. But it’s not a feeling that showing children how to give will make them better people, there is also evidence that backs it up. Studies show that youth who are taught to help others at a young age continue those practices through adulthood. Experts recommend involving youth as much as possible in deciding how and whom to help; they will be more invested in the outcome if they are an integral part of the process.
There are many creative ways that children can be taught to help others during the holiday season. At school, younger students can bring holiday cheer to elders in a nursing home by designing holiday cards or making crafts to deliver to residents. Alternatively, students could sing or put on a play.
Children can learn a lot about caring by working with animals. A day spent tending to animals at a local humane society or other rescue organization can introduce children to the act of caring.
There are many other things children can do to help others during the holidays. Assisting an elderly neighbor or relative decorate for the holidays or writing a thoughtful note to someone who has been a positive influence.
This year take the time to show a child how to give.