The holidays are finally here! While it’s easy to get caught up in Christmas lists, it’s important that as parents we show our teens the truly meaningful part of the season. Here are 5 ways to raise a generous teen that understands the importance of giving during a season that tends to be focused on receiving.
Take your kids with you
Your child is never too young or old to tag along! Instead of talking about family giving traditions, take your teen with you so that they can see it first-hand. If you sponsor a family, bring them along as you buy the gifts and deliver the packages to the family in need. Your teen will feel more connected to giving when they are there to see the impact they are making rather than hearing about it over dinner.
Let your teen pick out a favorite charity
Encourage your teen to find something that they support in addition to the family traditions. If your kid receives an allowance or has a part-time job, encourage them to start saving to support a cause that’s close to their heart. Donating time is equally as valuable if they can commit to volunteering on a regular basis. Letting your teen pick a cause or organization that they support, will allow them to feel inspired to put in the extra effort to give back.
Give away used items
The holiday break from school is the perfect time for your teen to declutter and organize their closet. It won’t make the same impact if you clean out their room and donate their stuff without asking; in fact, it might cause an argument if you get rid of their lucky hat. Let your teen lead the entire process from cleaning out their space, choosing items to give away, and going to the local shelter or charitable organization to drop off the items.
Utilize social media for good
We all know teens love social media. Let your teen use their obsession for Instagram to promote an organization that improves your local community. Posting a photo of the turnout at a volunteer event or writing a quick post about the work that they do can spread the word at a click of a button. Show them how they can use their screen time to make an impact in the community and encourage their friends to do the same! You might have a future non-profit worker on your hands!
Set an example
Although it may not feel like your teen listens sometimes, they are watching what you do and are learning from your words and actions. If you participate in a nonprofit or lead a volunteer effort, share your experiences and rewards with your family. Tell them about the impact you’ve made or how it feels to give back to a local organization. When your teen becomes old enough to make their own decisions, they will remember your dedication of time to local causes.
It’s not too late to teach your teen that giving is better than receiving. Make giving a tradition and show your kid that being altruistic is a part of your family values.