What child doesn’t anticipate the holidays and the gifts he or she is going to get? The excitement of receiving new toys, games, and gadgets is fueled by media advertising long before the holidays approach, and parents often feel the pressure to spend more than they planned to give their children the gifts that they believe will make them happy.
It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, the holidays can be a time when you model and mold values of caring and giving in a way that is consistent with your core beliefs, rather than imposed societal pressure. Below are five holiday how-tos you can use to help teach your child to be a wise, giving, compassionate person.
- Practice restraint in your own holiday spending.
This is easier said than done. Many parents can get sucked into buying gifts for their children that far exceed their budget. The more children you have, the faster overspending can multiply. Start early in your child’s life by keeping both the number and the costs of gifts to a reasonable limit. Remember that, with gift giving, less actually is more – kids who are overloaded with presents don’t consider any one of them “special.”
- Encourage kids to buy gifts for each other.
The best way to teach your child about the value of money is to have them shop for gifts for others using a set budget. Children learn quickly what $10 can buy, for example, when they are choosing a special gift for a sibling or adult. Give them the money if they are younger, or allow them to use their own if they have it.
- Make handmade gifts for holiday giving.
Whether it’s giving your child a photo collage of their top moments of the year, or helping them bake a special treat for the family, you can teach your child the value and specialness of giving gifts made with love. Their investment in time and thoughtfulness will reap great dividends both for them and the person who receives their gift.
- Shift the focus to traditions, not trappings.
Gift giving is just one aspect of the holidays, and certainly not the most important one. Make traditions a priority, whether it’s a religious gathering, family gathering, singing songs together, or reading special stories together. These all add meaning to the holidays that far outlast any gift from a store.
- Give to others in need.
Opening your wallet and your child’s eyes to others in need nurtures compassion and awareness for people who are less fortunate. There is no shortage of worthy organizations to give to – choose one that speaks to you and your child and make a donation. Better yet, give some of your time or items helping people in need. It can be as simple as a clothing donation or a handmade card to a person who is ill. No gesture is too small, and it will change the way you and your child think about giving and receiving.
Set these holiday giving how-tos into practice, and see the difference they can make – not only for your kids, but for you as well. Do you have a how-to that you would like to share? Tell us below!
For more ways to keep your budget in control this holiday season, download your free copy of our Holiday Spending Guide.