A couple of month’s ago I wrote about how I love giving Kinder Surprises to my kids,
friends and co-workers to brighten their day. Kinder has a way of making people smile.
Today I found out how Kinder is making sick kids across Canada smile. Kinder has partnered with the Children’s Miracle Network to create a Joy To Share program. Visit the Kinder Facebook page and you can design a card that will let sick kids know that they aren’t alone on Christmas. For every card that is made, Kinder will donate $1.00 to the Children’s Miracle Network.
As a parent, it is one of my worst nightmares to have one of my kids be struck by a
serious illness. As a former child, I can’t think of anything more lonely than being
confined to a hospital room away from family and friends on Christmas. The thought is
Unfortunately there are lots of children across North America who aren’t as lucky as my own children. Kids that don’t have enough to eat, kids that don’t have a roof over their heads, kids that are living in homes where they aren’t being treated very nicely and are suffering from abuse. For a child living these kind of lives, witnessing the joy of the holidays makes it all the more evident that others have what you do not.
How do we teach our kids that there are those who aren’t as lucky as they are? How do we instil a sense of community into our children and an inherent need to want to give and help those in need?
Here are 5 tips for teaching kids to give back to their community during the holidays:
- Organize a gently used toy drive: We all have them lurking around our houses… those toys that were played with once and then tossed aside or even worse/better??? those toys that our children were given as a gift that never made their way out of the packaging. Round up your kids, your kids friend and their parents and organize a gently used toy drive. Clear out those gently used and overlooked toys and donate them. You can find worthy charities to donate to in Canada and the US on the Donation Town website.
- Make bagged lunches and deliver them to the homeless: I think it can be hard for kids to truly realize what it means to have nothing until they witness it themselves. Get a group of families together and have everyone bring ingredients for sandwiches. Make a bunch of bagged lunches and throw them in a wagon or the car and deliver them to neighborhoods or churches that have soup kitchens. Teach your child that when they hand someone that bagged lunch it means that they might be able to eat twice that day instead of the one meal that they received at the soup kitchen.
- Write a letter to someone who may be alone at Christmas: Take a look around your neighborhood and community. Maybe there is an elderly person who recently lost their spouse and this will be their first Christmas alone, maybe there is someone who’s spouse is away fighting overseas, maybe there is someone who is just plain lonely. Encourage your kids to make them a Christmas card, write them a letter or draw them a picture letting them know you are thinking about them and wishing them a Merry Christmas.
- Visit a nursing home: It’s easy for folks in a nursing home to be forgotten at Christmas. They have a roof over their heads, they have food in their bellies and we hope that they have family watching out for them. But what if they don’t? Call ahead to a neighborhood in your community and ask if you could come by to wish their residents a merry Christmas. Be creative. Make a bunch of cards to hand out, bake some Christmas goodies, learn a few Christmas carols and go room to room with your kids caroling. Honestly even if you just went, sat with a few of them and asked them about their favorite Christmas memories I’m sure you would brighten their holiday season.
- Lead by example: You are your child’s number one teacher. If you turn a cold shoulder while walking past a panhandler your child is going to learn to do the same thing. Even a smile and a “sorry” can mean the world to someone who is feeling invisible. Teach your children that you care about the community that you live in and they will grow up with the same philosophy.
Other ways to help your community and the world that we live in:
- Canned food drive
- Adopt a family for Christmas
- Donate gently used books to an underpriveleged school
- Organize a coin drive and donate money to buy toys for a children’s hospital
- Thank your communities local heroes (police officer’s, fire fighters, ambulance drivers, teachers)
- Donate a handmade blanket to Project Linus
- Encourage your child to put aside a portion of their money (allowance, birthday presents, holiday gifts, tooth fairy money, etc) to give to charity
- Talk to your kids about where and who they want to donate their time, money and gifts to. Maybe donating to the humane society is more up your kid’s alley than donating to the homeless. That’s ok. It’s about giving back.
- Give a gift that matters with organizations like World Vision. Have your child go through the site and pick an animal that they would like to give to a family in a 3rd world country in substitution for a gift for themselves under the Christmas Tree.
- Volunteer as a family. Whether it’s walking dogs at the local humane society, selling hotdogs at school event or serving hot meals at a soup kitchen find a way that your family can volunteer together to help your community.
Start your child’s journey to learning to give by heading over to the Kinder Facebook page and creating an online card for the Joy To Share program. I sat down with Turtle and Bean today and we each made a card. It opened a great dialogue with Bean about kids that are sick in the hospital and how lucky we are to have our health and be at home. This program has made me so proud to be a Kinder Mom.
On a separate note, Kinder has a great line of holiday themed Kinder Surprises in stores. right now. They make great stocking stuffers… and Kinder didn’t ask me to say that.
Tell me… How are you teaching your kids to give back to their community?
Disclosure: I’m part of the Kinder® Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.