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#makegivingfun

It’s that time of year to spread holiday cheer. One of the best ways to teach our children to be empathetic and kind is to give back. Here are some creative ways to encourage your children to give back.

1. For the animal lovers: Whether you love lizards or are passionate about puppies, there is a shelter just for you. Most local shelters will have a “wish list” for items in need. It can a simple dog treat or a homemade cat toy. Helping animals equals happy children.

2. Giving Tree: Helping those in need might be as simple as cleaning out your closet. You can set up a Giving Tree where your children can place gently used items such as mittens, hats, books or toys. The week before Christmas, my family likes to donate all of the items to a local shelter and even throw in a frozen turkey or two.

3. Senior Smiles: Visit a local senior facility and spend two hours smiling and talking to people. Encourage your children to make cards, cookies, or a cozy homemade blanket for those chilly nights.Be sure to ask the facility if they allow homemade goodies and remember a smile is contagious!

4. Random act of kindness: Ask your children to come up with a few ideas for a random act of kindness. Put the ideas in a santa hat and pick one each day of their holiday break. For example, one day could be to leave an inspirational note on a neighbor’s door, buy a stranger a cup of coffee or even leave an extra penny for the pony ride at your local grocery store.

Spreading holiday cheer can be a family tradition that is fun, inexpensive and a lesson your children will never forget.