The season of gifting is here again. Before we get carried away with more buying and gifting and letting the consumerist aspect of the festivities distract us, perhaps we can encourage our children to give rather than to receive. And giving does not have to be in the form of presents, but something that’s more sustainable and thoughtful.
There is a tendency for children in our society to grow up privileged given our prosperity. Sometimes, this can result in a sense of entitlement. Can we inculcate giving more than receiving? Here are some tips.
5 Ways to Encourage Our Children to Give More and Receive Less
1. Make DIY Presents
Instead of buying presents, how about making your own gifts? Handmade cards, keychains made with perler beads, polymer clay jewellery, a painting, a calligraphy piece can be ideas that are best crafted with love. Or customise calendars, photobooks, sticker labels for your loved ones.
One meaningful gift is way better than plenty that’s not necessary. We can teach our children that effort, thought and heart in our gifts is more important than the monetary value of any present. If they learn how to give from their heart, they would be able to appreciate the essence of gifting more.
2. Volunteering as a family
Giving our time can also be a way to encourage giving, rather than receiving. Options may be limited this season due to the pandemic but you can still volunteer at selected places, do check with the organisations before heading down to volunteer.
You can also purchase essentials and groceries and donate them to organisations such as Food Bank and Food from the Heart, community fridges and so on. We believe that giving to people in need is a great way to inculcate a spirit of giving.
3. Request for Cash donations instead of Presents
Instead of presents, how about requesting for donations to a good cause?
Rather than presents you don’t need piling up, cash donations are a good way to direct cash donations to worthy causes – especially to people who may need it most. Get your child to decide on which cause to support and then either start a simple fundraiser or direct all “red packets” or “angpows” to the meaningful cause.
4. Donating Gifts
One gift policy we had was to keep one and donate the rest. This might be helpful to those who have little choice but to accept presents. As the receivers, we can also choose what we want to do with them. Donating them might be a good way of getting them to be appreciated much more.
There are even overseas initiatives such as orphanages accepting toy donations. Do check with the relevant parties when donating toys. More importantly, ensure your child knows why he or she is giving away the gifts.
5. Declutter often and Count our blessings
Accumulating less, giving more, reconsidering requests can help our families to re-think what is needful, what others may find needful. When your child asks for something, is it usually a need or a want?
Reflect on what needs are and prioritise needs over wants. You can make a wish list and note it down so that the child can set goals and save up to make that purchase. Rather than responding to every request for new things, we can aim to accumulate less, reassess purchases and count our many blessings.
It is Better to Give than to Receive
Let us help our children (as well as ourselves) to give more and receive less, so they can look out for the needs of others above their own and give back to society. There are always others whose basic needs are not met, and we can definitely create a more equitable society.