Loc: Omaha, NE
|Posted: 10/13/2013 7:18:32 PM|
My boys are 6 and 9 and have a big case of the gimmes. I want the WiiU, I want this new Skylanders game, I want I want I want. It seems to be the only words I hear these days. I want to show my kids how to think of others as we near the holiday season. I thought of adopting a family and letting them help with the shopping and wrapping. I would love to know how you teach your children the value of "it's better to give than to receive". Thanks for any advice you can offer!
|Posted: 10/13/2013 7:27:15 PM|
You absolutely have to be a living example for them.
The families that i know that have the most thoughtful children come from thoughtful parents. if they grow up assuming the only way to do things is to think of others first and ACT on that, then that's what they'll do to.
And when they get the gimmies, you can say, "That's not what we do in our family" and give them an example of how you put others first.
Pretty In PeaNK
Ancient Ancestor of Pea
|Posted: 10/13/2013 7:38:04 PM|
I agree that you have to model it for them, but you also have to show them how other people live. Adopting a family from a giving tree is a great idea, but still a little distant. I would maybe do some volunteer work at a soup kitchen for Thanksgiving, or something like that so they can see the less fortunate in person.
|"How are we going to get rid of racism? Stop talking about it!"--Morgan Freeman|
|Posted: 10/13/2013 7:40:06 PM|
What do YOU do to model the behavior? Make them a part of whatever you do.
Loc: State of cultural confusion. Yeehaw and Aloha have collided!
|Posted: 10/13/2013 7:47:06 PM|
at this age they may not be able to help out in a soup kitchen or food bank although those are good experiences for youngsters if it can be done.
At this age I"d have them help me come up with gift ideas for the other people on your gift giving list. While it is hard enough to come up with ideas for grandmas, grandpas, various aunts and uncles do include the kids in thumbing through catalogs and talking about what others might want.
Have them make a list of 10 things grandma might like. Or whoever you have on your gift list.
Peaing From Podunk
Loc: North Dakota
|Posted: 10/13/2013 8:03:40 PM|
I always did the angel tree with my girls at the holiday season. They'd each take the name of a kid and we'd spend the day shopping for them.
Ancient Ancestor of Pea
Loc: Northern California
|Posted: 10/13/2013 8:07:21 PM|I totally agree with modeling behavior.
If you are wanting them to be compassionate, that is learned also by example.
We had our 3 yr old grandson in a Hallmark store this afternoon after we went to a pumpkin patch. He was fascinated with the ornaments - I told him to pick one out - but that was hard because they all mostly made sounds. That's all he really wanted to do- find the sound buttons of the samples - he didn't beg or whine ! He hasn't gotten in to anything close to electronic games yet.
True compassion for others comes in the teens developmentally, but certainly we know that we can let our kids do good things for others.
How about finding something they no longer use and give that away? The whole family can do that year round. How about making something for someone who is sick or lonely? Like a card.
|Posted: 10/13/2013 8:08:09 PM|
I think children know what their experience is. They don't have a lifetime of experiences to know that everyone doesn't live like they do. We try to talk about how others live. It's hard for a child to understand that everyone's life is not just like theirs if you don't make a conscious effort to discuss it. Makes for some difficult and sad conversations sometimes.
Buying gifts for an Angel tree is a good way to start some of those conversations. Good luck on trying to curb the gimme monster.
|Posted: 10/13/2013 8:24:08 PM|
Every Christmas I would take my kids shopping and have them select a gift for a child the same age & gender to donate to Santa Anonymous. We would talk about how Santa needed helpers when they were little. As they got older, we talked about families having good times and bad times.
RE: The gimmies, I would explain every family has different budgets and different priorities. When we couldn't afford something their friends had, I would say "we have money for our house, food, and clothes, so we are very lucky."
I think it's a process, not a single teaching moment. I remember my son judging someone about their rusty old car. It was a perfect moment to explain not everyone has money. I explained we had old, crummy cars when we were first married. Sometimes we have to be grateful we have a car at all.
do justice, love mercy
Loc: Northern Virginia
|Posted: 10/13/2013 8:27:28 PM|
I think "I want" is a normal phrase for children. They're expressing something that they're interested in, and they haven't learned the subtleties of it yet.
In our house, we do several things.
One is, we practice delayed gratification. Of course we occasionally impulse buy, but big ticket items we save for. I show my daughter how I'm saving for items for myself - I saved from odd jobs (bartending at parties, things like that) for my Kindle, for example, and told her I was doing that. I *had* the money to buy it outright, but I showed her what it was like to save for something.
Another is, we often talk about material things as a way to make relationships. If I buy her a toy, I try to say, won't it be fun to play with this with one of your friends? I try to think of ways that our "things" can be tools to fill up our lives, not just items to fill up our house. A WiiU would be a great example of an item that can be used to make relationships - wouldn't it be fun to host WiiU tournaments for our friends?
I think the concept of people who don't have as much is hard for them to grasp but important to teach. Every year we have made sure we gave gifts to someone less fortunate - OCC boxes, adopting a family, playing secret Santa to people we know. Last year, for example, we bought a Toys R Us gift card for a friend we knew was struggling to pay for gifts for her kids, and left it in a small gift bag on her door with some chocolate and a note that said, "To brighten your holiday, with love". We talked about how we weren't ever going to tell them it was us, because we wanted them to have a gift they never felt they had to pay back.
We try to be modest in our purchases and generous with our lives. We have people over for dinner, we try to invest in people's lives, and we do that just in an everyday sort of way. I don't want Christmas to be the only time we think about doing nice things for other people, you know?
Ancient Ancestor of Pea
|Posted: 10/13/2013 8:59:42 PM|
By example. They are still pretty young but they will learn by your example.
Also - I think serving at church or within the community - serving meals, preparing holiday/gifts/baskets, etc for the less fortunate or homeless helps a great deal.
|Child of God, follower of Jesus, and so thankful for His presence in my life <><|
|Posted: 10/13/2013 9:27:27 PM|
Volunteer work is the best way, but most organizations won't allow children that young. We have done Angel Tree and now do Operation Christmas Child.
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
|Posted: 10/13/2013 9:34:56 PM|
At our house we try to instill these ideas on daily basis as part of ourlives rather than just around the holidays. Although the holidays are a good time to begin these kind of discussions at home. My 9 year old DD isn't the gimmie type, however we still wanted her to think of other's feelings and be empathetic.
So we asked her to do a random act of kindness for someone each day and then come home and tell us about it at dinner time. It didn't have to be anything big, sometimes it was just something like : I helped Chloe pick up her pencils when she dropped her pencil case. Other days it was asking a child who was being left out of the group if they wanted to join the game...just things like that. We wanted helping others to become a habit rather than a chore. And she reported feeling better about herself as well!
Something we started more recently was asking her to choose a chore to help out around the house. Now this sounds pretty tame, and perhaps you already do things like this, but on holidays and the weekends my DD gets up early than the rest of us, and she is expected to remember and choose to do a small chore before the rest of us get up in the morning. Something as small as sweeping the kitchen/breakfast nook or unloading the dishwasher. the trick is we do not tell her to do anything, it is her choice. She loves telling us what she has done to help when we get up.
I also agree with those who have said model the behaviours you want to see in your children. (I especially loved the story by a PP about showing her child how she saved for the Kindle!) in our house we do a lot of things together as a family: we have the kids (even the 2 and a half year old) help with cooking and picking up toys. Often my husband, 2 oldest kids and I all make dinner together. My husband recently said he was amazed at how much kids WANT to help if you only let them. Yes, sometimes it takes twice as long to do something because the little ones are "helping" but we try to make them feel part of the collective family and it works.
|Posted: 10/13/2013 9:59:38 PM|
I think that is a good place to START. But it will only make a real impact, if thinking of others becomes a regular part of your family's life and you model that behavior regularly.
As far as the gimmes... in my family, we realized that was an outgrowth of them having too much too easily. Getting stuff can almost be like an addiction -- the more you have the more you want. And the more you have, the more dissatisfied you are with what you have because then it becomes not about enjoying what you have, but about anticipating the next "get". So we explained that mommy and daddy had made a parenting mistake and given them too much and that having too much was making them unhappy and dissatisfied. So we boxed up most of their toys, keeping only the ones they actually used. In order to get the stuff back, they had to earn it. We also did not allow, "I'm bored" to leave their lips without giving them a chore to do -- so that taught them to amuse themselves with what they had.
Loc: So Cal
|Posted: 10/13/2013 11:42:49 PM|
I enjoy baking and sharing what I make (so as not to eat it all myself). Since the kids started preschool when ever I made something for the family I would set some aside for their teachers. They got in the habit of bringing treats for them and will sometimes suggest others, like a coach or therapist.
This year I made treats for the first Friday of school, kind of a "Yea, you made it through the first week!" Treat. Amazingly I've been able to keep this up every week. My kids get a lot of joy from giving to people in their lives something that didn't happen when we did Angel tree gifts because it was too abstract. We will still do those at the holidays but I think our giving through out the year gives them a better context for those less direct giving opportunities. I think if you can find a way to give to those around you on a more regular basis the lesson will hit its target better.
However my kids still get the gimmies! LOL they are 4&6 and at those ages they are developmentally self absorbed and their worlds are very small. As they get older I know that they will developementally more ready for what the bigger world holds.
Mary Kay Lady
I'm thinking . . .
Loc: The state of Confusion!
|Posted: 10/13/2013 11:52:53 PM|
When they were preschoolers I started with adopting an angel off of the Angel Tree. I'd always try to get the same age & gender as they were and have them help with the shopping.
Now we do the shoe boxes. We each get a shoe box and have fun going to the dollar store and seeing how much we can stuff into our boxes.
Also, it has to be a daily thing. Not just once a year. The "golden rule" is to treat others as we would want to be treated. Even a preschooler can understand this concept.
Even little things count. Things like holding a door open for someone who has their hands full, picking something up off of the floor so someone else won't trip over it, etc.
And then praise and encourage them when you catch them doing something kind for someone. It all adds up.
Ask me about backups!
|Posted: 10/14/2013 12:13:08 AM|
More than one of those types of teaching moments still stand out to me from when I was a kid.
I think it's a process, not a single teaching moment. I remember my son judging someone about their rusty old car.
As to kids not being old enough for homeless shelters, I see feature stories in the paper and online about families helping other families. Many around Thanksgiving when big events are held a day or two before Thanksgiving Day for those having financial difficulties. They are all hands on deck affairs, including kids.
Maybe take them to a Goodwill type of store; you can tell the difference between the bargain hunters and the people who are there because that is all they can afford.
Pride of the Peas
Loc: Stuck in the Middle With You
|Posted: 10/14/2013 7:18:32 AM|
My kids started helping at the community soup kitchen in elementary school. Last year, we spent a week volunteering together with a group in Texas that serves needy families. My 14yo spent a week working with Special Needs adults this summer.
My kids have always been around developmental disabilities. My girls went to the Special Education preschool as reverse mainstream or model students. Their fellow students were kids with autism, CP, speech issues, blindness, Down Syndrome, deafness. It's normal for them. These kids are and have always been their friends.
IMO, this is how you end bullying. Teach your kids to have empathy and compassion. We still have one that has the issue of 'everyone else has XYZ and I don't, wah.' But it's getting better.
Proud Wife and Mom to four big goons!
I cannot be old enough to have three teens and a tween.
God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially formed you to
go through it, not without pain but without stain.
-- C. S. Lewis
Ancient Ancestor of Pea
|Posted: 10/14/2013 9:01:48 AM|
You can do all that, but unless you teach them respect first, it won't happen by a seasonal trip to the soup kitchen. Respect for themselves, you and their siblings.
They also have to work for some of what they themselves have to know the value of things.
...that's why they make blue cars and red cars.
|Posted: 10/14/2013 2:12:18 PM|
We did the adot a family program thru a local church. They gave us the names and ages of the kids and their wish lists. The list usually contained things like candy and one toy. As a afmily we delivered to the adopt a family. My daughter saw first hand how the family lived.
Usually minimal furnature, no electronic games and usually no bikes.
Everything he was lucky enought to have.
I first took her at age 10 and she still goes with me now at age 24.
|Posted: 10/14/2013 2:18:42 PM|
We don't concentrate on others only at Christmas. If someone is in need we try to do our best to help out. Its not only with gifts or money but with service. Like helping someone shovel the driveway or yard work or walking a pet.
We also have done the Angel tree thing and do Operation Christmas child. My kids have a very compassionate hearts and are well aware how blessed they are.
Ancient Ancestor of Pea
|Posted: 10/14/2013 2:40:51 PM|
You've gotten excellent replies here and I don't know if I have anything new to add to the convo. We modeled for our kids caring for others year round, both for people we knew and for strangers. A couple of examples of what this led to:
I was very proud of DS, who for his 10th bday, was very happy to ask for food donations to the foodbank in lieu of bday gifts. We held his party at an indoor roller rink and it was great... except for the parents who would normally have spent $10-15 on a gift and brought one or two cans of beans in its place. That upset me on his behalf a wee bit... but it didn't replace the pride I had in his generosity and thoughtfulness.
One year on Easter Sunday when our kids were about 9 and 11 the four of us made about 30 sack lunches and then drove around looking for homeless people to give them to. It was lunchtime and we were with the kids... felt like a pretty safe way for them to interact "up close and personal" with those less fortunate. It did all of our hearts good. When she was in high school DD asked for a gift of new blankets so that she and some friends could go downtown and find homeless folks to give them to.
Ancient Ancestor of Pea
|Posted: 10/14/2013 2:47:02 PM|It's something that we have always discussed here and there.
But charitable giving is definitely a big part of it as it organically creates a place for those type of conversations.
Ancient Ancestor of Pea
Loc: Charlotte, NC
|Posted: 10/14/2013 4:54:50 PM|BTDT, LOL. I lost it one Christmas season and marched all the kids out to the garage where my van was stuffed with toys that I was delivering from my neighborhood to a charity. I flung the hatch open and started my lecture. "THIS is what Christmas is all about!! These people all bought toys for kids they don't even know! Don't you get it??!!" I don't think you'll find that in any parenting handbooks but it got their attention.
We always did the angel tree at the holidays. We tried to choose kids close to their own age. When they were older they helped sort Angel Tree gifts. I also put a lot more emphasis on music, decorations and traditions than on gifts at the holidays.
We're in a new area and there was no Angel Tree so last year my daughter started a toy drive at Christmas.
My older kids went to Catholic school and taking care of those less fortunate was addressed regularly.
Loc: you can take the girl out of the country...
|Posted: 10/14/2013 5:15:45 PM|
Little things throughout the year, bigger during the holidays.
Each month, we look at the calendar for family and friends' birthdays. We go out and pick cards for each, sign and mail them. We talk about each person and the things they like and try to find fitting cards. It's a fun errand. They are involved in picking gifts for anyone we give gifts to, at least to some extent. ODS cleans out his closet for outgrown clothing and divides things between our consignment and donation bins. We clean out toys and always donate the good working ones to a local women's shelter. The lady who does my nails trains therapy dogs and runs the program at an area hospital. ODS goes with her to handle ones of her three dogs at least one weekend a month while I do some of the clerical work for her. Both boys pick tags off the Salvation Army Angel Tree and pick gifts for the child they chose. Also, we make them save for and buy some of their more expensive wants on their own. last year, ODS and I volunteered to sort toys at the warehouse for the Toys for Tots in our area. The year before we volunteered to work the breakfast with our local "Shop with a Cop" program.
I still hear "I want" from ODS plenty and YDS is figuring out that magic phrase, too, but they are also pretty considerate of others. YDS is only 2.5 but he's getting it. We picked out a gift for my DNi over the weekend who is 4 months older than YDS. YDS headed right to the pink frilly aisles and vetoed several things before picking out a couple items. They are plenty spoiled in comparison to how I grew up, but are also giving and sweet. I'll keep em.