Something I have been thinking about a lot during this campaign is how we get to the root of how to teach our children to give, why it’s important and what motivates us to help others. When Amy, Amanda and I thought about doing this we brainstormed all different ideas and every time we came back to wanting families to teach by example, to base this lesson in their own family values and to make it personal.
Make it personal.
To make something personal we need to understand where other people are coming from, we need to put ourselves in their shoes, to empathize.
How do you teach children empathy for others ?
- Show them empathy. Openly empathize with others as an example.
- Talk about feelings, a lot. Theirs, yours, anyone’s. Talk about fictional character’s feelings. Connect these feelings to your children. ” Wow Alexander is really angry at his brother. Have you ever been angry at your brother?”
- Role play. We use this strategy all the time from preparing our kids for special events like holiday parties to going on the airplane and conflicts with friends.
- Work to see their viewpoint as often if not more often than we try to force them to see ours. When your kid is acting up it’s hard sometimes to put yourself in their shoes. It might make you feel soft or like a pushover even. You can still have clear and solid boundaries and consequences while empathizing and it will encourage empathetic responses from your kids as well. Teach by example.
- Don’t wait for your child to feel an emotion before you talk about that emotion. Have them practice putting themselves in others shoes. Tell stories true and fictional. There are a lot of experiences my kids haven’t had but I have and I use those as we explore feelings. It gives them a connection to the feelings without having to have had to experience it themselves, at least not yet.
Once kids can empathize with children in different situations than their own they can really understand why these acts of kindness and giving matter.
I know that in the past week your heart like mine has been filled with empathy, sorrow, and disbelief . Use those tears to do good and to plant the seeds of charity and giving in our children. Here is a link to all the different ways to give to the families of children and teachers who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Another post that really struck me this week was on Peanut Blossom . Tiffany and I met at BlogHer in NYC and sadly last week a friend of her’s lost her dear son Alex in a accident in their home. Alex loved to read and in his honor Tiffany has made it super simple to send books to Chicago Children’s Hospital. I think this is such a wonderful way to remember a child gone too soon while helping others who are fighting for their lives. You can see her post here.
So far little hands have made a big difference by donating over 62 hours of service, 121 food items, 80 toys, and $1554 ! All of this doesn’t just help those in need it helps teach your children how important giving is and how good it makes them feel.
If you have worked in some way for a cause with your kids please add it to our tally here so we can all show the kids what they can do and that even if they did something small that small things add up and make this world better for all of us.
If you have blogged about giving, a charity project or what you have done for #blog4cause add it to our linky below.
My heart is heavy and I feel like now more than ever teaching our children about kindness and giving needs to be a priority. Many of our children are too young to comprehend or for us to explain what happened in Newton, Connecticut but that doesn’t mean it can’t solidify our resolve to teach them to spread love and goodness and show them how by example. Here is the announcement of the campaign for more info.
#blog4cause isn’t a campaign with any ulterior motive it’s our way of reminding busy families like our own to make time for intentional lessons about charity , giving and kindness. Teaching our kids by example about giving in a season of getting.
This week my son’s school focused on the same charity we have made our cause and he went shopping in our pantry taking what he could carry in his backpack. The other thing we did was sit down and choose toys to give to Toys for Tots. This is something we do every year but now that my son is 6 he has a better understanding of what having no gifts at Christmas would feel like. While we talked about what toys to give we also talked about how children in need might feel. How parents who can’t afford to buy gifts for their kids might feel and how giving makes us feel. I don’t want my kids to simply give because mom and dad told them to, I want them to feel empathy and give because they want to help another person . Together we chose to give 3 toys per child the same amount of toys they both get from Santa every year. Today we will drop them off at the mall and talk more about feelings and giving and hope something sticks.
Have you and your children worked to spread joy and love this week? Do you have a #blog4cause post you can share and help inspire other parents? Add it to our link up below!
Also please don’t forget to add to our tally. This is a simple form to fill out that tallies up all the good our little ones have helped spread. Our goal is to show at the end of the campaign how small hands can make a big difference. So if your family has donated, worked in a soup kitchen, added pennies to a penny drive… add it in. I hope to wow my kids and yours with how much differences kids can make and how it’s just as important as what adults can do.
We have raised over $700 , donated more than 40 hours of service and helped to teach our kids just how important giving is.
Just Another Mom From East L.A wrote a post that brought tears to my eyes. She and her toddler prepared sandwiches for the needy and handed them out. The part that got me all teary was her message that she hoped her young daughter would take from it. ” Share; try.” Yes!!! Read her post and check out her adorable blog here.
This week our family did a little help for our cause ( our local food bank and social services) but not as much as I wanted to. My plan was to run in the Turkey Trot ( which I did ) and have my son run too. I wanted him to see that charity has many faces and paying to run in a race with the proceeds going to our cause is a great way to have fun and give back. Well he decided not to.
I force and require my kids to do a lot of things but I don’t want to force them to give to charity. I want them to see me give and learn by example. I was bummed but know that if I had forced him to run the race it would have attached the wrong message not only about giving but also about running.
Please if you have given, donated, shared, held a bake sale…. anything enter it into our tally!Last week the link wasn’t obvious so this week I am making it big. I know that you have donated a can or two, dropped a few dollars into a red kettle so tally it up!
And of course if you have blogged about giving with this campaign or others link up here to inspire other parents how we can make giving a lesson for our kids.
#blog4cause is all about families and kids making a difference by doing , giving and sharing with the cause of their choice. This week you all amazed us but we want everyone to take part, even small works of charity will make a big difference. Join us and teach your kids about giving first hand.
For all the details about this campaign read this .
We are tallying up all the work you and your children are doing and here are our stats so far :
Hours of work donated : 30.5
Toys/Books donated : 10
Money donated : $557
Food donated : 81 items
But the biggest difference this week was how many shoe boxes were filled for Operation Christmas Child. Not only were there 6 different links in our linky below all about filling shoe boxes but in our tally there was a total of 30 shoe boxes filled by kids making a difference!
Wow! More than 30 kids will be smiling as they open those boxes and know that somewhere in the world kids cared enough to think about them. Awesome!
I loved this post from The Iowa Farmer’s Wife about her experience and great tips about giving.
Did you fill shoe boxes this week with your kids? Donate food for someone who needs help putting a Thanksgiving meal on their table? Donate to the Red Cross to help Sandy survivors? Whatever you did make sure you add it to our tally ( simple form to fill out) and if you blogged about it add it to our linky below .
There are no prizes for this campaign just a great opportunity to teach our kids about giving during this crazy busy season of getting .
For more info about #blog4cause and how you can teach your kids about giving this holiday season read our announcement here.
At our house we chose to focus our energy on our local food bank which really does so much more than just provides food. After school one day this week we packed up the Halloween candy and some staples and went in person to drop it off.
Why in person? Did the food bank need Halloween candy?
Going in person is really important. The food bank isn’t the box outside Safeway or the basket at church it’s a place where real people like the ones we greeted and chatted with get help and kindness. I wanted my children to have a reference point, an experience and hopefully a deeper connection. The Halloween candy wasn’t so much for the me, women and families as it was a lesson in giving away something you care about. My son isn’t sacrificing anything when he drops a can of soup into the bag but choosing which candies to part with on Halloween night was a sacrifice and that was the lesson there. After dropping off the food we asked one of the volunteers what they need most and got a list I had my son read back to me.
Teaching kids about needing and giving doesn’t happen all in one dramatic shot, it takes time. We are up for the challenge and excited for #blog4cause.
Kristen over at Busy Kids = Happy Mom ( a completely awesome blog if you haven’t been you must go check it out) liked up a wonderful post about Operation Christmas Child and how she and her kids are making a big difference . I love that she shares how to participate in this wonderful cause for very little out of pocket . Giving isn’t about cutting huge checks , you don’t need to be rich to make a difference . Read her inspiring post about Operations Christmas Child , it might just be the perfect cause for your family!
Don’t forget if you are participating make sure you enter your work in our tally , we want to show everyone how amazing kids can be at the end of the campaign, No action is too small, no donation insignificant!
If you have blogged about your experiences don’t forget to link up below . I will feature one great post every week to inspire and educate.