With the recent natural disasters that have
struck our country and the world, now, more than ever, we as
parents need to make teaching our children to be grateful, sharing
people a priority. How do we help our young children learn about
thankfulness and the importance of sharing with others? Naturally,
the holiday season sets the perfect stage for such important life
To a toddler or preschool age child, the concept of thankfulness
is extremely abstract. That does not mean that we cannot establish
traditions and build healthy sharing habits within our families,
starting with our little kids.
Daily, children are
bombarded with media and advertisements for more and more
‘stuff.’ My young son is now on a forced sabbatical from
Wal-Mart due to over exposure to ‘Tigger’. We can’t even
enter the parking lot with him in the car without the chorus of
‘I want a new Tigger...' to start full force. For his own good,
and for the sake of my sanity, he’s staying home with Daddy
until after the holidays. Hopefully his condition will improve by
My son’s issue comes from being two years old, that will change
with age. But, if left untreated, and if I fail to take advantage
of every ‘teachable moment’, he very well may grow up to be an
ungrateful brat. Sounds harsh, but the kids from ‘Charlie and
the Chocolate Factory’ aren’t all that far from reality.
So, how do we create more ‘Charlies’ and fewer ‘Violets’?
Here are some simple yet fun and inexpensive activities that
toddlers and preschoolers love. Their pride in accomplishment will
show on their faces.
Holiday Sharing Activities for Little Kids:
1. Make thank you cards for the ‘heroes’ in your community.
Firefighters, mail carriers, police officers etc. Let the kids
hand deliver if possible.
2. Make homemade bird feeders or sprinkle birdseed outside weekly
for the birds.
3. Offer to help gather fallen leaves from the lawn of senior
citizen neighbors. Make a fun time of it. Little kids love to jump
in the leaves and you can teach them about autumn too!
4. Create cards and art projects to take to a local nursing home.
My son and I visit often, and he loves to sit on the couch with a
special friend named ‘Darlene.’ They enjoy each other’s
company, and he is learning patience and gets to practice
5. Work with your kids on making a ‘Helping Coupon Book’ or a
simple picture book with different things that they can do to help
around the house. Each page can be a ‘coupon’ for a little job
like putting toys away, helping put clothes in or take out of the
These small suggestions are merely a starting point for activities
and special times that we can do with our children now, while
they’re young, to instill qualities of community and
helpfulness. The burden is on today’s parents to set the
example. Let’s create a world of thoughtful, thankful adults.
by: About the author: Sherry Frewerd publishes ‘Family
Play and Learn’ a website devoted to toddlers and preschool age
children. You’ll find fun and learning activities, along with,
articles for parents on various early childhood issues. Family
Play and Learn – familyplayandlearn.com