Building Good Habits In Kids: How To Give Back During Holidays

The holiday season is here! This time, let's go beyond the traditional holiday celebration. With these tips, teach your kids the joy of giving back!

By Namami
15 Dec 2022

The holiday season starts with aesthetic wreaths, tinsels, carnival of lights, and long weekends. Children catch the festive cheer and the excitement of the New Year is palpable in the air. This year, why not teach your little humans the good habit of giving back?

While many people are experiencing economic and social hardships, now it is more crucial than ever to instil in your children ways to give back during the holidays. Holidays are the time of year that is supposed to represent joy, giving, and cheer. Gift of giving means sharing, and sharing fosters kindness, empathy and care.


Related story: Giving Mindfully: Things to Keep in Mind While Donating


Why should you give back?

When people share and experience gratitude or any sense of connection, a hormone called oxytocin is released. Oxytocin, the love and bonding hormone, increases feelings of well-being and fosters trust when released in the body.

Regular charitable deeds foster feelings of purpose and altruism. These emotions will help your kids form a connection with their community and society. Giving back during holidays to any community with your children can make someone's day and teach your kids the good habit of helping others.

Stephen Post, a professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University, in his book, Why Good Things Happen to Good People writes that giving to others has been shown to increase health benefits in people with chronic illnesses, including HIV and multiple sclerosis.


Related story: Fun Ideas To Keep Your Kids Active And Limit Screen Time


Reasons to teach your children to give back

Developing good habits of giving back will teach children compassion and empathy, securing their moral compass in future.

According to Hyderabad-based psychologist, Dr Shreya Chakravarty, “Children learn by observing their parents, and therefore it’s important to let them model your own behaviour of giving during the holiday season. Talk about it with them so they understand how these acts can change someone’s day or life.”

Dr Shreya believes, “Doing it together with your child, praising their act of giving and asking them about their feeling when they give will increase their sense of compassion towards humanity.”


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How to make a good habit: Teaching the joy of giving back

In such cases, Dr Shreya suggests the following ways to teach the healthy habit of donating to your children:


1. Children learn by their environment, little acts of compassion can be part of their daily routine and can be practised every day in terms of helping parents in household chores, taking care of younger siblings, daily hugs, small notes of kindness etc.

2. Helping neighbours (especially elderly neighbours), and pets and encouraging them to volunteer with old age homes and NGOs builds a sense of compassion.

3. Teach the act of ‘Pay It Forward and not just reciprocation of gifts.

4. Read to them stories based on acts of kindness or giving. Here are some options: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and The Giving Book by Ellen Sabin.

5. Teach them to donate in a piggy bank. You can make a big difference in someone’s life with a small portion of money which they can put in this donation box.

6. A number of nonprofit organisations, including Save the Children, CRY (Child Rights and You), and Smile Foundation, accept volunteers to work for them. You can make a big difference in someone’s life with any portion of happiness shared.


By three years of age, most toddlers begin to grasp the concept of Sharing. Remember that it is a gradual process. Start small and build on the lesson every day. So, it is possible to lay the foundation for a compassionate adult by teaching toddlers as young as three, ways to give back during the holiday season.


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