Monday, November 25, 2013

Giving Tuesday: Get Your Kids Involved

On December 3, 2013 my family is going to take a break from the busyness of the holiday season to celebrate the second annual Giving Tuesday.

What is #GivingTuesday?
From their website:
"It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company, or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Be a part of a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity."
Giving Tuesday is a chance to intentionally involve your children in the act of giving back. This is something we do with Katarina all through the year, but I am excited to have a national day to recognize the importance. Especially in the beginning of the holiday season when so much attention is placed on what we are going to get.

The first step to getting your child involved in giving is showing them how you give. When you give food or money to a homeless person, talk to your children about homelessness. Take them with you to volunteer. When you donate to your favorite charity, tell your children what that money is going to help accomplish. If your child gets an allowance, consider not only having them set some of it aside for saving, but also setting some of it aside for a charity or cause of their choice.

Children learn what they see

Where my family lives, we come in contact with people who are struggling and hurting daily. Each one of those interactions is a chance to be a blessing. Some days we can give food, money, or clothes. Some days all we can do is treat the people we meet with kindness, showing them we see them as an person, not just their circumstances.

Giving isn't about how much you have - it is about meeting a need that crosses your path. Helping to meet one need, even a small one, makes a difference.

“What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” - Luke 3:10-11

The second step to getting your child involved in giving is to introduce them to a variety of charities and needs. When you are honest with your children about the needs in your community and in the world, you open up their eyes to ways they can help. Hopefully they will find a project or charity they can be passionate about all year long. Once that happens... you can step back and enjoy watching them dream big and get creative about supporting their cause.

"Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." - Matthew 5:42

Get Your Kids Involved In Giving Tuesday

Big and small things you can do on Giving Tuesday:

Give time. 
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen or shelter.
  • Visit a nursing home. There are many people in nursing homes who don't get visitors, and would love to meet your family. It would also be great to bring handmade Christmas cards or art projects that could be passed out to residents.
  • Find a family in your neighborhood that could use some extra help. Rake their leaves or shovel snow. Clean their windows. Cook dinner or bake cookies for them. Offer a night of free babysitting.
  • Knit or crochet squares to be made into blankets for AIDS orphans in Africa.
  • Help out at a local animal shelter. 

Give things.
  • Donate clothes and toys from your home. Don't go through your kid's closets for them, but let them choose the clothing and toys to be donated, and take them with you to drop off the items.
  • Donate hair for cancer patients. If your child has been growing her hair to donate, get it cut on Giving Tuesday, or use Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to talk to your child about this simple, but special way to give.
  • Call a local shelter, and ask what they need. Remember that shelters can only take new, unopened items. Feminine hygiene products and diapers are an often overlooked need at women's shelters and homeless shelters that serve families.
  • If you have a Ronald McDonald House in your area, they are always in need of donations and volunteers.

Read books about compassion and giving, and books that will introduce your children to different communities and needs around the world.

Give money or fund raise. I know most kids don't have a lot of money just sitting around to donate, but that doesn't mean they can't give money. I've included a couple of places where small amounts can make a big difference, but kids could also hold a fundraiser (think: bake sale or something much more creative like a nail polish stand) on Giving Tuesday. Here are some ideas:


Give gifts that give back. It might be Giving Tuesday, but let's be honest, I know it is still Christmas shopping season. Use Giving Tuesday to buy gifts that make a difference.

Inspire a giving revolution. Another great way to be involved in Giving Tuesday is as simple as spreading the word. Talk about it with people in your life, and share your Giving Tuesday efforts on social media.

UnSelfie #GivingTuesday

You can Connect with Giving Tuesday on their website and find them on social media using the hashtag #GivingTuesday on facebook, twitter, google+, and instagram.

Join the movement and give back on December 3, 2013.

How do you teach your kids about giving?
Are there any charities or ideas you want to add to my lists?

*All of the charities linked are organizations my family has supported in the past or plans to support this year. I was compensated for this post with a charity donation in the spirit of Giving Tuesday.

44 comments:

  1. Tons of great resources in this post - thank you! I never realized how many children's books were available on the subject of giving - but what a great way to teach the value of giving to our kids.

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    1. Isn't that awesome? It makes me want to try writing a children's book. Maybe when life slows down? LOL.

      This is not even an exhaustive list of books, but I tried to include books for different age groups and reading levels.

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  2. I love the idea to read books that inspire giving. Great idea!!

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    1. Thanks!! You know me - everything can lead back to a good book! :-)

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  3. what a great way for kids to learn to give back. I try to teach my kids giving is better than receiving on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. That is an important lesson. Thanks for reading (and giving)!

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  4. I've never heard of Giving Tuesday, but it is a fantastic idea, and I love all the suggestions in this post!

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    1. Thanks! It really is a great idea, and I hope it will become more popular each year.

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  5. I couldn't agree more. Parents need to volunteer with their kids. I know lots of people who do plenty of volunteer work, yet none of it is with their kids. (many of them have teenagers) They are missing an excellent opportunity to teach their kids a multitude of things. I encourage my kids to be a blessing to someone each and every day. Look for the little ways, then pray for the courage to help. Sometimes, it can be scary to put yourself out there to help. We need to show them how to do it.

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    1. That really is a missed opportunity. Especially when you have teenagers, who are often busy and don't spend as much time with the family as they did when they were younger.

      I love what you said about praying for the courage to help. Sometimes it really is a step outside of our comfort zone, and a little courage is needed.

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    2. I totally agree. We include our kids very deliberately. We want them to understand the importance from a young age

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  6. I love all of these ideas and I think it is very important to teach children to give where they can.

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  7. I have never heard of this before now but it sounds like an excellent idea.

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  8. I love the #givingTuesday idea. I have tried to instill the ideal of charity in my children. They love to help their community. I will have to find something for them to do on December 3rd.

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  9. I love these ideas! I am taking my son to a church shelter this week to help out on Thanksgiving! I think teaching to give back is one of the most important things we can teach our kids. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. I absolutely ADORE the concept of Giving Tuesday. I love that you mention getting your kids involved and have given us suggestions for ways to do that. Awesome. I'm pinning this and tweeting it out, too. I want everyone to see your post and participate in Giving Tuesday!! --Lisa

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  11. I love all the different ways you share to give. Even if you have no money you can give!

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  12. Great idea! We buy stuffed animals all year when we find them (it's harder than you'd think!) and come November we have a large bag of stuffed toys for Toys for Tots. MY husband works in a nursing home so I'm making cinnamon ornaments for his residents this year.

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  13. What a great list of ideas! Our family has done most of these one-time-or-another but we really need to make it a monthly thing to do!

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  14. You give so many great resources and tips in one post. My family will definitely be participating in #GivingTuesday.

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  15. I love to teach my children that they are fortunate, but that thee are others who have very little. This is a great post!

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  16. Just recently my son had the opportunity to volunteer on our local food bank and he is only 11. He was so happy to know he was able to help a family in need.

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  17. This is such a great thing to teach our kids! It's the season for giving!

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  18. What a great post, I wish I had taught my children to be more giving at times not that they are not kind hearted and not that they don't give but I think I could have done more to teach them about giving

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  19. This is such a brilliant idea! I love how this is a great opportunity to help teach our kids of the importance to give back; at a time of year that people are generally concerned with "what can I get." Love this idea!

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  20. I never heard of giving Tuesday, but I want to teach my daughter now that she's getting old enough to understand. Definitely going to do something this year!

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  21. This is a wonderful idea. I have always been big on having my kids volunteer and give back.

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  22. The idea of giving Tuesdsa is a great one. By doing with with our children, we can help them make helping others a part of everyday life.

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  23. I think this is such a fantastic idea and a great way to teach kids about giving back.

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  24. Our children definitely learn by example. Thanks for sharing what is important this holiday season.

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  25. What a wonderful idea to raise awareness with kids and just a generally awesome thing to do! Thanks for sharing!

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  26. Fantastic post! I write a lot about volunteering and feel it is a very important thing that all parents should encourage their children to do!

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  27. LOVE this post! We are adopting a family to shop for this year at Christmas. It's so important to teach by example and by doing. Awesome post!
    -Milena

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  28. I'm so glad this is causing people to think beyond themselves at this time of year. I like what you said about modeling the behavior for our kids too. Very important!

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  29. It is so important to teach our children to give back and to help those in need! This is a great post with great reminders and resources! Thanks!!

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  30. My son is 4 this year, and we've been doing a lot of talking about giving. I think he's catching on!

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  31. I love the concept of 'Giving Tuesday' and think it's so important to involve our kids. Thank you for all the ideas on how to do this!

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  32. I am so glad you shared this. We learned something similar at church this sunday about taking it off of "Me" and putting it on "you". I agree to have kids and adults give back. I really like the ideas too.

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  33. LOVE this post! I've been wanting to get my kids more involved, we have something big planned for Christmas.

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  34. My kids have been asking to do something special for this giving day - I kept thinking of making some grand gesture but really, it can be anything!

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  35. These are great resources! Thanks for the list!

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  36. What a great idea... Love to involve the kids and have them volunteer often; this post was great, lots of ideas.. thanks for sharing

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  37. I'm so glad to see so many people participating in #GivingTuesday. I did it for the first time last year and am involved in an event this year as well. Both times, we tied fleece blankets for local charities - Ronald McDonald House this year. It really is a lot of fun and it's definitely a breath of fresh air after Black Friday and all the other shopping crazyness. #SITSSharefest

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