Editor's note: This post was originally published December 19, 2014.
The holiday season is usually a festive time for children, particularly with time off from school and gifts. The period also provides many teaching moments, particularly around giving and charity:
Family History Lesson
Everyone has different family traditions and holiday foods, often due to differences in ethnicity and religion. It's a good chance for parents to review their family history and explain why they do certain things (sometimes learning themselves in the process).
Differences in Ethnicities and Religions
Even if your family is fairly homogenous, odds are that your kids have classmates from many different backgrounds. This is an opportunity to discuss those differences in terms of fun traditions, stories, gifts, foods, etc.
Meaning Behind the Holidays
Similar to the history lesson, it's a chance to teach your kids that there's more than just a time away from school or gifts.
Empathy & Compassion
The holidays can also provide an opportunity to teach your child about how other families celebrate this time of year. Every family faces its own circumstances, and not everyone is in the position to celebrate in the same way. Use this time as a chance to teach your child about perspective. If you're able, volunteering as a family can be a powerful way to teach this lesson.
Differences in Wants and Needs
It's the perfect chance to show kids how people have different wants and needs, from as simple as three children requesting three different toys to families having different priorities… not "right versus wrong," just different.
Here are a few ways to teach giving and charity over the holidays.
- Visiting a nursing home or hospital
- Serving meals to the homeless
- Letters or packages to soldiers
- Donations to a food bank
- Angel trees, toy drives, and anonymous gifts to needy kids and families
What have you tried with your family? Which worked and which flopped? Please post your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page and share your experience with us!