be a cheer­ful giver

Help your tween learn to ap­pre­ci­ate the joy of gift­ing, gen­eros­ity and gratitude all year round. DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON tells you how.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - AGE BY STAGE 7-9 YEARS -

Chil­dren this age of­ten be­come pre­oc­cu­pied with their Christ­mas wish list, so here are 10 strate­gies to teach your pri­mary schooler about “giv­ing”, in­stead of “get­ting”:

Ex­plain that he should give to oth­ers

It may not have oc­curred to your kid that he can give as well as re­ceive. Point out that his sis­ter would be de­lighted if he gave her a present, just as he would be thrilled to get a gift. Ev­ery­one can give, not just adults.

Sug­gest pos­si­bil­i­ties

He doesn’t have to buy some­thing for you as a present – he could make a present in­stead, and you’d prob­a­bly pre­fer that. Of­fer him craft ideas for mak­ing items such as a book­mark.

Of­fer prac­ti­cal sup­port

He might be anx­ious about mak­ing his own gift, so it would help if you got in­volved. He needs to do most of the work him­self, but you can help him cut out the card­board for the book­mark.

Don’t wait un­til Christ­mas

There is no rea­son why Ju­nior doesn’t give gifts to his fam­ily and friends at other times of the year as well. There are birthdays,

an­niver­saries and other op­por­tu­ni­ties for cel­e­bra­tion. The more fre­quently your child gives, the eas­ier giv­ing be­comes for him. Ask him to ex­plain how he feels when he re­ceives a present. Maybe he feels ex­cited or happy be­cause he knows the gift means the other per­son cares for him. Then tell him that every­body feels that way when they re­ceive a present, not just him.

Help him un­der­stand what dif­fer­ent char­i­ties do to help those who are less for­tu­nate, namely col­lect­ing items and money from those who have more.

There are many ways that he can con­trib­ute, for in­stance, by giv­ing some of his pocket money reg­u­larly or do­nat­ing old toys, games, books and clothes. Giv­ing does not have to in­volve grand ges­tures. Small amounts can have an im­pact, too. What­ever your young one de­cides to give to char­ity, he should de­liver it him­self, in­stead of ex­pect­ing you to do this for him. So he should put the coins into the char­ity box, or carry his un­wanted items to the char­ity shop and hand them over him­self. That makes giv­ing very real for him. True, there are no phys­i­cal re­wards from giv­ing to other peo­ple. But point out to your child that he will get an emo­tional re­ward – he feels good know­ing he has helped some­one or he’ll beam with plea­sure when they thank him for his kind­ness. The more fre­quently your child gives, the eas­ier giv­ing be­comes for him.

When he de­cides to give in­stead of get, give him a big hug and tell him how proud you are of him for act­ing so kindly to oth­ers. Your pos­i­tive re­sponse re­in­forces his pro-so­cial ac­tion, so he will be more likely to give again.

De­velop his sen­si­tiv­ity Talk about char­ity In­volve him in char­ity do­na­tions Make giv­ing prac­ti­cal High­light the ben­e­fits Praise his acts

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