After the consumer madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it's nice to take a step back from the shopping and consider ways to give back to our communities. That's why was born, and today parents all over the country are taking a moment or two to use random acts of kindness as a teachable moment for kids who are growing up in a consumer-driven, “me first" culture.
Here are 10 simple ways you can help your kids participate in #GivingTuesday:
1. Pick a charity and donate
If your child loves the local animal shelter or has known the pain of a stay at a children's hospital, today's a good day to help them drop off, email or mail a donation. Whether it's a couple bucks from your kid's piggy bank or a larger amount from your bank account, Giving Tuesday is about teaching kids that money doesn't just buy things, it also helps other people.
2. Pull off a random act of fast food kindness
In the line at Starbucks? Getting Chipotle? Offer to pay for the order of the people behind you. Use the moment to have a conversation with your kids about how it's nice to be randomly nice once in awhile.
3. Get crafty
Pull out the construction paper and help your kids make thank you cards for the people in their lives who don't hear it enough. A teacher, bus driver or coach might be on your kid's list. Maybe you will be, too.
4. Send a surprise
Far flung grandparents and aunties in other states will be expecting parcels a few weeks from now at Christmas time, but they're not expecting flowers at work today or an Amazon delivery waiting for them when they get home.
5. Bake for someone
Bring your kids into the kitchen and get out the mixer (or scoop out store bought cookie dough, there's no shame in that) and bake up a treat for a friend or family member who could use some cheering up. Just don't let the kids eat all the kindness before you have a chance to deliver it!
6. Talk about the importance of saying thanks
Take an extra moment to say thanks to the clerk at Target today, and talk to your kids about why it's important to use their manners. Especially during the holiday season, retail workers don't always get to see people doing that.
7. Buy some diapers for your local food bank
Even if your kids are out of diapers, today's a good day to buy some. Many parents struggle with the financial cost of disposable diapers and don't have the resources to use reusable ones. You're going to Target today anyway, right?
8. Involve your kids in thoughtful donation
Sometimes donations don't do as much good as they could because people donate things organizations don't actually need. Your local food bank may be overrun with canned goods right now, but might not have any milk. Assist your kids in calling up a charity and asking what they really need. Then, whether it's milk, food, diapers or cash, you and your kids can make it happen.
Ask your kids for their ideas about random acts of kindness and help them act upon the ideas that seem the most reasonable. ("No, we don't have time to paint our neighbor's house, but yes, we can bring him a coffee.")
Smile at everyone. Your kids will catch on and it will be contagious. Happy giving!