6 Simple Ways You Can Help Your Child Develop Generosity and Empathy During the Holiday Season

Generosity is a trait most of us would like to see our children develop, but how do you teach your little one about the power of giving, and why is that an important skill for young children?

Practicing kindness gives children better mental and physical health, stronger relationships, and a higher sense of self-worth. Fortunately, research tells us that kindness and empathy are qualities our kids can learn. Studies show that when it comes to nurturing generosity and empathy, it is critical that children are shown those concepts at a young age, and what better time to show generosity than the holidays. The holidays provide a great opportunity for parents to show children that there is joy in giving to others. 

Since 1971, teachers at New Horizon Academy have been helping children develop these skills, so we asked them to share their favorite tips.

  • Serve as a Role Model.

As a parent, you are your child’s first teacher. Your children will learn a lot from watching you. Show them what it means to be grateful, whether it is thanking someone for holding the door or helping a friend plant a garden, or raking leaves for an elderly neighbor, or cleaning a local park, and be sure to include your kids, too.

  • Be Thankful. 

Gratitude is great medicine. Being grateful inspires optimism and happiness. Every evening at dinner, write in a journal something you are grateful for (younger family members can draw pictures). Or collect your “gratitudes” in a jar or hang them up. Or create a giving box or jar and add money and donate to an organization that works for a cause you and your family support. Below are instructions on how to make a giving box or jar. 

  • Bake and Share.

When your family bakes cookies or muffins, wrap a few to share. Perhaps include a hand-decorated plate and card. Talk about being a good friend and neighbor and how important it is that folks in the community look out for one another. Here are some of our favorite recipes:

Delicious and Healthy Carrot Apple Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins Recipe

Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

No Bake Blueberry Oatmeal Energy Balls

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

Snowman Pops

Frozen Banana Penguin

  • Volunteer Together.

Volunteering is a wonderful way to help your child learn more about empathy and giving to others. Whether you are decorating lunch bags for Meals on Wheels, serving meals at a local shelter, or donating mittens for a mitten drive, volunteering has a huge impact on the development of empathy and gratitude.

  • Read Books. 

Reading and discussing a good book together can deepen empathy and provide new perspectives. Try asking these questions: How do you think [character] felt? What would you have felt in [character’s] situation? Would you have acted differently if you were [character]? If so, how? 

Here are a few books the teachers at New Horizon Academy read to help promote empathy and compassion:

Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth

How does sharing and giving change a community?

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

Can you think of three people you would like to write a thank you letter to?

Who are they, and what would you say? If you have time, write those letters!

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud

How can you spot an empty bucket?

What can you do to fill it up?

  • Make Gifts for Others. 

Brighten someone’s day this holiday season with some simple handmade crafts you can make as a family. Not only are you creating beautiful handmade gifts, but you are helping your child learn about generosity and the joy of giving to others. A bonus is that you are also spending quality time with your child. Here are a few ideas from the wonderful teachers at New Horizon Academy:

Personalized Holiday Coasters

How To Video: Personalized Scribble Mug

How To Video:  Make Your Own Reindeer Hot Cocoa Tubes

How To Video:  Create A Holiday Dish Towel

DIY Holiday Crafts Your Child Can Make

Giving your child the gift of gratefulness during the holiday season can be one of the most rewarding and important gifts to give. Gratitude has so many positive outcomes when children display thankfulness. 

Visit https://www.newhorizonacademy.net/ to learn more about the incredible learning programs at New Horizon Academy.

About New Horizon Academy

New Horizon Academy, a family-owned company, has been serving families since 1971. It provides highly trained teachers, a proven curriculum, and safe and secure facilities, all aimed at supporting children’s self-esteem and preparing them for kindergarten and beyond. New Horizon Academy is a nationally recognized, high-quality early learning provider with all eligible schools accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (“NAEYC”), the gold standard in its industry. To learn more about New Horizon Academy, call (763) 557-1111 or visit www.NewHorizonAcademy.net


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