As a parent, you have the most significant influence on your children. They watch what you do and say, and want to grow up to be just like you. Because of this, it is important for you to instil some values in them that they will live by as they grow.
We all want to raise responsible citizens, and moreso, kind, thoughtful and empathetic individuals. That is what you see in a gift right; you can tell if someone put some effort into getting you a present – yes it’s your birthday, but do they know that more than the cake, you need a new jacket because it’s getting cold? Or when you didn’t make the cut at that audition you have been practising for for months, what you need may be a simple cupcake, not a night out to drink your sorrows away! You want to feel that whoever is giving you a gift really knows you.
How do you teach your children to be that thoughtful and to give meaningful gifts that people will appreciate and cherish? It’s clearly not just about the money you spend, but how intentional you are with the gift.
Here are a few tips that every parent can use:
1: Let the children understand the reason behind the gift
When you understand the reason you are doing something, you will most likely give it your best shot, right? Let your children know why birthday gifts, or Christmas presents are good to give to others. Moreover, let them understand that they do not have to wait for particular occasions in order to give gifts. Talk to them about any-time gifts. Peruse through the Kmart offers and pick a chocolate for their teacher, for example. Let them understand that giving is a way of appreciating someone or something they have done for you. You are just showing them how much you value them.
2: Talk about giving appropriate gifts
There is a special feeling you get when you receive a gift from someone dear to you. Help the children to understand this by asking them how they felt the last time they received a present from someone. Go on to discuss if the size of the gift was important to them or not. Try to drive home the fact that while one present may be big, like a soccer ball, it may cost less than a watch, which is smaller, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that you are giving of your best.
Whilst on this lesson, talk about DIY gifts too. A pot plant, baked cookies, a hand-made beaded bracelet, or a photo in a frame – all these are good gift ideas. Let them know that the monetary value of a gift is not as important as the gesture.
3: Let them understand that time is a gift too
Go a step further and ask your children how they feel whenever grandma or grandpa visits or when they spend time with their cousins. This is just a way for them to appreciate that giving of one’s time is just as special as giving physical gifts. If you can volunteer with them at a soup kitchen or visit an orphanage with them, the lesson may stick for longer.
4: Teach them to save money and budget for gifts
Saving and budgeting are important lessons that one needs even outside of the giving topic. They are life skills. Discuss how to set aside money from allowances to get that present for dad on Father’s day. Let them do chores around the house for extra cash. Find age-appropriate tasks for them to do at your office. Let them experience earning some money, then teach them how to spread it amongst all the things they want to use it for. When your child uses their own cash, they will not only appreciate the value of money, but all the other lessons above will kick in too.
5: Be a good role model
As we mentioned at the beginning, your children will learn more by watching what you do. Model the art of giving. Share your stories with the children and provide them with opportunities to give outside of family. Encourage them to keep up the habit when they give spontaneously.
Try all these suggestions and add more. You will raise a more loving generation that appreciates humanity.