Tips to ignite a “Giving Spirit” in our Young Children

By By Valerie Frost-Lewis, MS Ed. December 3, 2019
The holidays are upon us, and the advertising for sales are everywhere.   Children are making wish-lists, and dreaming of gifts they may get if they are nice and not naughty.   I always found this time of year overwhelming:  wanting to make sure my children were happy and got all the things they hoped for.   It really made me stop and think about the emphasis we were placing on material things.

What more could this season mean to our children, beyond just getting coveted toys?  For our children to grow into giving and caring members of our community, we need to teach them the spirit of giving, and give them opportunities to practice and enjoy being the one who gives.

Here are some tips to flip the emphasis, and add some giving to your children’s holiday experience:

  • When shopping for your holiday foods, explain to your child that some families do not have enough food to eat.  Have your child pick out some favorite non-perishable items to give to a family in need.  Take your child to the local food bank to deliver the food.  
  • When your child is making her holiday wish list, talk about children who may not have enough toys to play with.  Are there (gently used) toys she is willing to donate for these children?  Work together with her to select toys for donation and bring her with you when you bring them to the Salvation Army or other donation site. 

  • Does your child enjoy drawing or painting pictures?  While your child is coloring, let them know there are senior citizens who would love to receive cards at the holidays, and perhaps your child could make them some pictures or cards to enjoy. Making cards is a personal way to let others know you care.   Sharing art is truly giving of yourself and can really make your child feel proud that they are cheering someone up.  Bring your child to a senior center to deliver the cards.  And, of course, your child can make cards for all your family members as well.
  • Making gifts together can be a fun family activity and can be the start of an annual tradition.  If your family works together on some thoughtful, simply crafted items, you are building family teamwork as well as the giving spirit, and you are bound to have fun together, too!  Gifts could be crafts, baked goods or works of art.  Whatever your family wants to give!  (And, Pinterest has boundless ideas to spark your creativity!)

Here’s hoping you have a wonderful holiday season, full of love, family, friends and the spirit of giving.


Valerie Frost-Lewis, MS Ed. is the owner of The Peppermint Tree Child Development Center, offering child care in Toms River NJ.  The Peppermint Tree Child Development Center is a state-certified, non-sectarian, non-denominational center that offers a program developed for young, inquisitive minds. The Peppermint Tree is a proud participant in Grow NJ Kids, to assure high quality early childhood education for our children.
For a tour of the school or more information on their curriculum, visit their website or call: 732-929-2500.