Christmas is the time for giving but for many people, children included, the getting overshadows giving. It can be difficult for kids to understand that Christmas should really be about giving to others not about how many gifts or how much money is spent on the gifts we receive.

Honestly, it can be hard for many adults to remember that it’s more about the giving than the receiving which is evident by some of the mass mobs at your favorite retailers for Black Friday and beyond. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’d like your child to learn more about giving.

  • Let your child shop for gifts for others with their own money. Depending on your child’s age, it might be appropriate for them to buy a gift for their siblings or for a friend. Be sure that they know this well enough ahead of time to save for their purchase.
  • Buy a gift for a giving tree. Many retailers have giving trees set up at the front of their store so their customers can buy a gift for a child in need. Let your child pick a child in need from the giving tree and shop for the gift together. Make sure to have a discussion with them about why it’s important to help others.
  • Drop off a donation at your favorite charity. You can drop off groceries at the food shelf, toys at the battered women’s shelter, or pet food at your local Humane Society. Just involve your child in the act of giving and encourage them to give themselves.
  • Donate your time to help others and bring your child. See if the Humane Society needs someone to play with the animals that are waiting for adoption. Ask your food shelf if they need help bagging groceries. See if you can help serve at your local soup kitchen. It’s important that your child understands that there are others that are not as well off as they are.
  • Let them learn by example. Children learn by what they see rather than by what they’re told. So, the best way to help your child learn the importance of giving is by showing them. Don’t wait until Christmas time to give to others. Take time throughout the year to donate your time, money or unneeded items to others in need. Once they see you do this regularly, they’ll begin to understand and model that behavior as they get older.