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Charitable Children: Showing your Kids How to Help Others

We got a flier home from school this week from the PTA asking families if they'd like to 'adopt' an anonymous child for a holiday gift program. I saw, "9 Year Old Boy" and instantly thought, "I have no idea what a nine-year-old wants for Christmas -- my kiddos are much younger!," (and almost tossed it without thinking). Since I was reading this flier in my son's room, I thought, 'Let's see if my kids would help out...'

It brought me such joy that my 6-year-old didn't even hesitate for a second when I asked, "Would you want to use some of your own money to buy a toy or something for someone in your school who might not have a lot of toys?"

"OOOOH! Yes! Yes!"

He instantly went into thinking aloud of what he could 'buy:' a board game, a book, something Star Wars-related.

I told him I would give him $5 if he would use $5 of his own money.  

"OK, good, Mommy. Deal!"

It melts my heart, that even when they can be brats, and entitled kids at times, and whining ("Plllleeeeaaaase can I have this, Dad?")...and fighting over each other's toys, and asking for every kid-product on commercials...that MY KIDS ARE KIND ENOUGH TO HELP OTHERS.

Every year, we also pick off two tags from the Salvation Army Angel Tree at the Eatontown Boscov's store, so we will also be doing that, and buying some kind of holiday presents for additional local kids.

I know some parents have other ways to get their kids involved in holiday gift-giving and being charitable to those less-fortunate. Some moms and dads ask their kids to (politely) raid their piggy banks and head to the mall to buy some Secret Santa gifts. Other kids gift-wrap for donations, or do chores around the house to raise money (yes, and sometimes for their own purchases, too!). A friend of mine has her 3-year-old assemble toiletry kits for families in need overseas. Some local classrooms make holiday cards for troops overseas. What do YOU do?

Any one else have good ideas to get your little ones to help others? What are your success stories about sharing in the spirit of the season? Wouldn't it be nice if the holiday season became less about receiving and more about having hope, helping others, and bringing joy to everyone, especially those less fortunate? I think so...and I certainly smile big when I see my kids learning this.

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