Wear the Cape™, a brand that gives back and aims to restore the power of kindness and heroic character with cool, inspirational products and its non-profit the kidkind foundation, released some great tips about teaching kids to understand the joy of giving to others.
Wear the Cape’s tips were conceived by the organization’s resident character education expert Philip Brown, PhD, who is a Fellow of the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University, where he founded and directed the Center for Social and Character Development. With his pointers, Dr. Brown focuses on how we can help our kids understand the joy of giving.
1. Be intentional. Talk to children about giving and charity, how it makes us feel, and what values we are upholding. Whether the heart-to-heart is about giving money or time and energies, research shows that talking with children to help them understand the family and society values associated with giving is important.
2. Think beyond your family. Let children know they are part of a community and global citizenship. Ask who has served your family this past year and could use some recognition. Look at where there are people in need locally, nationally and internationally. Could a neighbor use a helping hand or the local food pantry some extra servers?
3. Involve your kids in decision-making. Include your children in discussions about to whom something should be given, whether it’s a toy, a dollar, a card, the offer of service or a good word. Simple and sweet can open the heart as much as big and fancy. Think of family and then extend outward. Involving kids in the process of selecting charities or persons to whom they want to give goes a long way toward building a generous spirit.
4. Gift outside the box – literally. Consider gifts of experiences rather than just material items. We remember and cherish good times together longer than almost any physical present.
5. Don’t overlook the art of receiving. You can help children build their character by learning how to receive gifts gracefully and with gratitude, which is as important as being a caring giver. Gift occasions are also about receiving. Receiving should be done with an open heart, remembering that the person giving the gift wants to please you and make you feel good.
Wear the Cape had a #betterthanpresents contest over the holidays, and reports that most kids’ talked about family time as something better than presents. For example, helping to take care of a baby brother, going to a baseball game with dad, and having the entire family at a birthday party.