• Teaching children the gift of giving back

    teaching children gift giving back

    Christmas is a time for giving and receiving but is it only exclusively to close family and friends. Do we even spare a thought to those in need? Our children receive so much throughout the year. Besides their birthdays, they are at the receiving end whether you celebrate Easter, Hanukkah, Diwali, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    As parents we want our daughters to be grateful for what they have and to think of those who don’t.  That is why my husband and I felt that we wanted them to learn about the spirit of giving back from a very young age.  We have incorporated giving back as a family routine.

    Through their school; the girls have a charity which they support. Every Tuesday they take two loaves of bread and a spread to school. Schools with feeding schemes then benefit from this donation. Twice a year we donate unwanted clothes, toys and books to a creche, home or shelters. They also volunteer when we have outreach projects that are organised through our church. As my husband is a regular blood donor, the girls want to donate as well.  Unfortunately they are still too young as the start age is 16.

    Children mirror the actions of their parents and if you often reach out to others by giving generously, they will follow. Christmas is the perfect time to teach them to give back to those less fortunate and organisations in need.

    Explain to your children the importance of giving back. Giving back to others is vital for a child’s positive development. It makes them understand how they fit into society and how they can make a difference in helping with societal problems.

    Teaching the gift of giving back not only promotes personal growth and self-esteem but it gives them a sense of belonging and pride. It will create self-satisfaction that they are making a difference in someone else’s life no matter how small the contribution.  It teaches them kindness, tolerance, compassion and empathy.  These qualities will help them carry it forward in their adult life.

    Giving back is not just limited to money, food and clothing. Giving your time is also helpful.

    Ways to teach your child the gift of giving back

    Santa Shoebox

    If you know a child in need, fill an empty shoebox with a small toy, stationery supplies, a clothing item, candy, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush and facecloth. Let your child assist in wrapping this box and accompany you when you drop it off.

    Donate clothes, toys and books

    When organising cupboards, allow your child to select unwanted clothing items, toys and books that he/she no longer need. It will defeat the purpose if you select these items on their behalf; so please let them do it. Choose an organisation that you will donate it to and take your child with when you drop these items off.

    Donate through their school

    If your child’s school supports a charity; then get involved in this cause. Often schools ask for donations of blankets, bread and stationery supplies to donate to organisations in need.

    Donate for natural disasters

    Giving back to people who lost their homes and belonging due to natural disasters like floods, tornados and wildfires where they lost their homes and belongings. Make a monetary donation and let your child donate by taking out of his/her money box. Take your child with when dropping off  blankets, clothing, and non-perishable food items.

    Give to the homeless

    If you do not want to give money to the homeless, you can assist by purchasing a ticket for the night shelter. Put together food parcels to hand out. Give a “blessing bag” which consists of a face cloth, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, bottled water, wetwipes, tissues, etc. Let your child help with bagging these items.


    As a family take time to volunteer at an old age home, children’s home or animal shelter. Teach your child that giving back can also be in the form of “time”. Time can be used to read or play games with the elderly or children at the respective homes. Working in the kitchen by peeling vegetables for lunch preparations or assisting in the garden is ideas of giving back at a home.

    Volunteering at an animal shelter is another way of giving of your time. It could include cleaning, feeding the animals and taking dogs for a walk. Make sure to call the animal shelter to familiarise with rules and safety concerns.

    Help neighbours

    If you have elderly neighbours, let your child help by raking up their leaves or taking in their dirt bin. Should your neighbours be struggling financially, assist by donating food parcels.

    Beach cleanup

    Take time on a Saturday morning and pick up dirt that is lying on the shore of the beach. Make this a family exercise. Wear latex cloves when doing this. This is a great way to teach children to take care of the environment.

    Lastly, teaching the gift of giving back can start from the age of 3. The simplest gift, task or donation can make a big difference in someone else’s life. If you have any other ideas of giving back and how you get your children involved, please share by adding to the comment section.


    1. December 22, 2017 / 2:56 pm

      I donate to Santa Shoebox every year 🙂 but I would love to get involved more giving back! Thanks for listing all the possible options 🙂

      Happy Holidays!

      • Noleen Miller
        December 22, 2017 / 4:02 pm

        That’s great – I think it is so important to encourage this in our children by showing them that we give generously. Thanks for reading my post and happy holidays too.

    2. December 22, 2017 / 4:30 pm

      Brilliant post! I hadn’t heard of “Santa Shoebox” That is precious! We always try to donate towels and blanket to animal shelters and donate clothing and time. There are some great ideas in here!

      • Noleen Miller
        December 23, 2017 / 1:28 pm

        Thanks. Yes there is actually an organisation called ‘Santa Shoebox’ where you can select your beneficiaries by age and gender. Continue to give generously – you will be blessed.#Blogcrush

    3. December 22, 2017 / 5:07 pm

      Such an important lesson to hive to a child and makes them appreciate what they have got. Merry Christmas to you X #fortheloveofblog

      • Noleen Miller
        December 23, 2017 / 1:26 pm

        Thanks for reading my post. It really does make them appreciate what they have and it nurtures kindness and empathy towards others. Merry Christmas to you too.#fortheloveofBLOG

    4. December 22, 2017 / 6:10 pm

      So important to teach kids about giving too. We did the reverse advent calender last year. When son was small we did shoebox especially and taking old toys to charity shops

      • Noleen Miller
        December 23, 2017 / 1:29 pm

        Thanks for reading my post and yes it is. By teaching them to give, just nurtures so many qualities.

    5. December 24, 2017 / 1:17 pm

      What lovely ideas. We have a years worth of clothing from my youngest that we’re slowly parting with. We’ve put some in the clothes bank and given some to a charity shop. #BlogCrush

    6. December 27, 2017 / 10:00 pm

      Ooo so many great ideas here. I love that you’ve highlighted the importance of giving time too – sometimes that can be the most precious gift of all. And I think it’s so important to lead by example – when giving is a part of family life, the children will grow up with it being second nature. #blogcrush

    7. December 29, 2017 / 1:27 pm

      Such an important lesson you are teaching! Great list of options of how to give back as well- love it. #blogcrush

      • Noleen Miller
        January 4, 2018 / 10:07 am

        Thank you.#Blogcrush

    8. December 31, 2017 / 12:19 am

      We did a reverse advent box at work – putting something in a box over advent = then giving the box to our local homeless charity. They were so grateful. Felt really positive doing it. Hope you had a good Christmas x

      • Noleen Miller
        January 4, 2018 / 10:02 am

        I’m sure it was so rewarding not just for the homeless but for yourself as well when you donated this box. Continue to do great work and you will be blessed.#Blogcrush

    9. December 31, 2017 / 8:46 am

      This is so important and I love that you put practical suggestions.
      Setting the good example is the most effective way and it’s crucial to incorporate these habits in the kids’ daily life. Great job!

      • Noleen Miller
        January 4, 2018 / 10:01 am

        I think it is important that we as adults set the example as our kids learn from us. Thanks for reading my post.#Blogcrush

    10. January 1, 2018 / 9:39 pm

      I’m such a firm believer in giving back at Christmas. At work we give away hundreds to a local foodbank to help our community. Thanks for linking up again – we’re back with #fortheloveofBLOG on Weds 🙂 x

      • Noleen Miller
        January 4, 2018 / 10:00 am

        Thanks for reading my post Kelly, it is so important to teach our kids to give back. Still on a bit of a break so will link up next Wednesday.#fortheloveofBLOG

    11. January 2, 2018 / 1:19 am

      I really want to encourage my daughter to give back. I volunteer fortnightly and take her with me so I hope as she gets older she recognises that. These are some great ideas for us to try with her as she gets older 🙂 #BlogCrush

      • Noleen Miller
        January 4, 2018 / 9:57 am

        Thanks for reading my post – it is a great way to teach them about giving selflessly and what better way to learn from a parent who gives back too.#Blogcrush

    12. January 2, 2018 / 2:18 pm

      These are great ideas! I think it is really important to teach them these skills, they serve us well for life and teach us all responsibility to those around us, too. Thank you for sharing. #blogcrush

      • Noleen Miller
        January 4, 2018 / 9:59 am

        Thanks for reading my post and yes these skills can be valuable and taken into adulthood.#Blogcrush

    13. December 11, 2018 / 6:09 pm

      Such an important thing to teach your children, and I’ll certainly be doing this when they’re old enough to understand. It’s so easy for them to think it’s all me, me, me. Some great tips on here for how to do it. Thanks for linking up to #ItsOK. See you next week!

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