Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Three Holiday Lessons for Children

By: Christine Cox, The Choosy Mommy

As we near closer to the holiday season, I feel like I have been teaching my 4 year old a lot of lessons at one time. This year is going to be a special holiday season because she is really starting to enjoy family traditions and is getting in the holiday spirit. In my family, we talk a lot about Santa and his reindeer, the elves at the North Pole and how exciting Christmas morning is going to be when all of the presents magically appear under the tree. But there are also lessons that I am trying to focus on to ensure my daughter values more than just presents during this time of the year and through life. No matter what holiday you celebrate, here are three life lessons that can be nurtured in all children this time of the year.



1. Giving is Better than Receiving

This is a hard lesson to teach children who are really excited to unwrap presents they have received from others. Unfortunately, there are people in our world who have very little so I have made it a goal this holiday season to teach Capri about different family circumstances and to hopefully engage her feelings about giving something of hers to someone else. I have taught this lesson with the help of our Choosy Kids team. Each year, the Choosy Kids team “adopts” a family who is less fortunate and struggling to make ends meet. We provide gifts to the family to help them have a special holiday together. There was a 2 year old little girl in the family this year so I took it upon myself to explain to Capri that this little girl, right now,  doesn’t have as much as Capri has and it is up to us to make sure she has a great holiday. So we went through Capri’s toys and picked out things that she wanted to give to the other little girl. I couldn’t believe the things she wanted to give her. Stuffed animals that she loved, slept with at night, and carried around during the day were toys she wanted to give to this little girl because “she will love them too” as she said. It didn’t stop with this little girl. We have since picked a name off of the giving tree at school and purchased a gift for a child there and have made monetary donations to different organizations that mean something to our family. I always make sure to ask Capri how she feels after we give something and she tells me good and I usually get a big hug. The tears always swell up in my eyes because she is getting it!


2. Say Thank You, Even if it Wasn’t What You Wanted

A prime example of this actually happened pre-Christmas to my daughter. Capri and Cam’s Grandmother gave them a new movie to watch. Actually, Capri and I had already watched this flick in the movie theater and when her Grandmother gave her the movie, instead of just saying thank you, she went on to tell her that she doesn’t even like that movie (but in reality she wasn’t thrilled with the movie theater experience…she’s 4). Regardless, I had to try to teach her that Grandma’s feelings might have been hurt because Capri didn’t graciously say thank you for the gift. Whether the gift is something your child may have asked for or not, we need to nurture and encourage the thank you’s. If your child is still not thrilled with the item, you can revisit my first lesson about giving and maybe find a child who really would like the gift and have your child experience giving in this way..


3. You Don’t Have to Buy Anything

Most children do not have a full understanding of money or buying something until they are in elementary school (trust me because Capri thinks we can buy anything and everything on Amazon). A good lesson to teach children this time of the year is that you don’t have to buy something to be able to give it as a gift. Sometimes homemade items are the best presents, and sometimes just your presence is the greatest gift. I have taught this lesson by asking Capri to make her own Christmas cards to send to people, by having her make cookies for the neighbors, and when she is a little older I plan to teach her about volunteering and helping others, something that doesn’t cost a dime! 

What are some other lessons that you can think of that are good to teach this time of the year?

About the Author: Christine Cox is the blog master for Choosy Kids and owner of The Choosy Mommy. She has always had a passion for writing and is honored to contribute her work to this blog. Most of her writing inspiration comes from her daughter, Capri, who is fun-loving and full of energy, and son Cam, who is learning new things everyday. Click here to learn more about Christine.

50 comments :

  1. These are good tips for the entire year ;) We're working on a few holiday travel rules now. It's always better to set the rules beforehand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Travel rules would be good too. And yes, setting the rules beforehand let's children know your expectations and their boundaries.

      Delete
  2. I like your ideas of what you're reminding your children about. I also like the general idea of gratitude for what you have. I also like the idea of thinking about what YOU can do (not blaming others/excuses) to make anything better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You last point is spot on. We can certainly ask children how THEY can make a situation better rather than pointing fingers.

      Delete
  3. These are all very important lessons and I think the earlier they learn them, the better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true! This year is going to be a very magical Christmas for my 4 year old, so I think 4 might be a great age to start (last year Christmas morning was not great because she just wanted to sleep lol).

      Delete
  4. These are amazing lessons. I truly believe that giving is better than receiving!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In all situations! It doesn't have to just happen around the holiday season. When others are in need, and we are able, we should help!

      Delete
  5. Yes! Thank you for instilling this in your children! I read somewhere that putting old toys in a box "to santa" for other children works well too. Because the elves can fix them up and rebox them for other children to use!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only I would've read this earlier! We literally just went through the toy box and put toys in a different box to give to other kids. Wish I would've said they were going to Santa...might have been able to get a couple more toys in there ;)

      Delete
  6. These are great, I try to help my children understand what the holidays are really about. Sometimes that is harder than it looks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is hard, especially holidays that revolve around a faith.

      Delete
  7. All of these are so valid. My parents taught me and I still believe in all these and many more. I love giving, such a great feeling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear you learned this from your parents, I am sure at a young age! I feel like a lot of parents are skipping out on these lessons and just throwing gifts at the kids.

      Delete
  8. I agree,giving is definitely better than receiving, especially seeing how happy it makes others feel!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that is the best part. Sometimes it is really hard for my 4 year old to part with something, but for her to see how happy it makes another child is the learning moment.

      Delete
  9. these are fabulous lesson.s I love your last one, realizing that it's not all about what you can buy is as important as giving to those who have less.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And not even those who have less, but just in general. A grandparent would love a colored picture from a little one just as much as they may love the new sweater that the child's parent actually purchased.

      Delete
  10. Great lessons! I know some grown people who could use these lessons.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love all three of these lessons, I try to teach my kids the same ones. My favorite gifts from the kids are ones they put thought into and make themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that the best gifts are the ones that kids make. I love getting the gifts from pre-school!! :)

      Delete
  12. I love that third lesson especially... children have lots of opportunities to make something special as a gift!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They truly do! Even with just a little adult help, they can be so creative themselves.

      Delete
  13. These are all so true! I feel like even as an adult, we sometimes need a bit of a reminder. Very important lessons to remember :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, because the holidays are so rush, rush, rush that it is nice to have this reminder.

      Delete
  14. All so true!!! I've been working on the whole thankyou think with my daughter and omg!!! It can definitely be a challenge especially when she thinks a thankyou isn't necessarily needed lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is hard. I have found getting my daughter to say thank you for even the simplest things, and just to me, throughout the day has helped when we are dealing with others.

      Delete
  15. I agree with these tips and, although I don't have little ones yet, think they're important for everyone to know at any age!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well thank you!! I agree that we all need these reminders, especially to just say thank you :)

      Delete
  16. I think #2 is huge. I told my son the story of a girl who tossed a gift I had bought her aside at a birthday party and screamed, "I have this already!" I still remember it to this day! The idea of being grateful for a gift NO MATTER WHAT is something that should be taught at a very young age, in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uhg, I am with you. My daughter said this while opening her birthday presents last year, but she was like, "This is my favorite game, but I already have it." LUCKILY the person who gave it to her had already left and another little girl who was there was really interested in it so we proceeded to the first lesson and gave it to her. Totally made her day :)

      Delete
  17. I really liked your third point, "you don’t have to buy something to be able to give it as a gift." I think it's so important for children to not grow too expectant of receiving things and shouldn't find things extremely important.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Whether you are physically giving something, or doing something for someone else (maybe shoveling snow for a neighbor or raking leaves, etc.) it is the thought that counts!

      Delete
  18. These are great points. She will appreciate these lessons as she gets older that is for SURE! Being gracious for any gifts you receive is HUGE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I always hope I am doing the right things, ya know?

      Delete
  19. Amazing lessons! Children will carry the valuable lesson like you've shared here as they grow. They will learn about receiving and giving appreciation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. And yes, these lessons have to be learned at some point so why not while they are still so young and impressionable?

      Delete
  20. I always tried to my girls to give back through out the year instead of just one time of the year.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you for reminding me to have another conversation with my kids about being polite when receiving a gift.

    ReplyDelete
  22. We've been playing Christmas and so far our 4 year old is very thankful. I hope that's still the case when Christmas Day finally rolls around.

    ReplyDelete
  23. These are great tips. I'm struggling to teach my daughter about these things this season now. She is very into presents.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Im glad your daughter will be enjoying more the holidays. But it is indeed important to teach more than receiving gifts. Good job.

    ReplyDelete
  25. #2 is a biggie here at my home. I learned that the hard way after my son's last birthday.

    ReplyDelete
  26. All three are such great lessons. I think it is important to teach your kids gratitude because not everyone is lucky enough to enjoy the holiday season. Many people go without.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great lessons indeed!! We've been perfecting how to say thank you for the thought even if you don't feel the person got you what you 'wanted'...we're almost there...LOL

    ReplyDelete
  28. yeah agree with you guys really, health is wealth when you are strong, you have power of hero

    ReplyDelete

Choosy's Blog Archive