Every parent has experienced the frenzied “gimme” look in their children’s eyes at Christmas. New toys and electronics are advertised everywhere and their “I want” list grows by the minute.
As parents, we would like our children’s Christmas memories to be about family time, traditions, love and giving rather than the newest gadget.
One way to teach children to give back is for them to give coupons as Christmas gifts. The coupons consist of acts of kindness, chores or activities that the children could do for others. In this way they learn to give of their time at a young age.
The beauty of this is that even toddlers can partake in this activity as all it takes is some colored paper, markers, stickers and your collective imagination.
Some examples are; make a cup of tea for mom, play a game of cards with grandma, do the dishes or walk the dog. These coupons were a favorite stocking stuffer in our family. The recipient could take them out and claim their “gift” anytime throughout the year. As the years went by the children would think of more elaborate and imaginative ideas for coupons (afternoon movie, date night with mom, scrapbooking day).These coupons could also be used as gifts for birthdays, Mother’s Day or any occasion.
As the kids grew into teenagers they also offered coupons to neighbours and friends(shovel the neighbor’s walk , babysit for mom with new baby or help a buddy with homework). The objective is to get the children thinking how to do for others versus asking for material possessions.
The spirit of giving can be taught early in life and is a great gift that, as parents, we can give to our children.