little boyIf your kids are like every single other child around the world, then they probably jump up and down and get pretty excited simply from hearing the word "holidays," you know, because they associate the holiday season with getting plenty of presents and all sorts of fun goodies. (C'mon, don't like. Your kid LOVES gifts just as much as my kid and every other kid does.)

And while it's definitely fun to see our children's faces light up when they tear into all of the lovely items that took us hours to wrap -- it's still important to teach them that giving back can be just as much fun as receiving.

Here are 5 ways to get your kids excited about giving to others -- once they realize how rewarding it is to spread some kindness to someone else, they'll be hooked on giving for sure.

1. Adopt a family -- Every year, the families in my neighborhood get together and adopt a few local families from our town to make sure they have a happy and memorable holiday. We divide up the items on their lists, and then most of us take our kids out shopping with us and they help us select the perfect presents to donate to the families.  Not only do they have a blast picking out toys, clothes, and other gifts -- they also get a much needed reminder of just how fortunate they are.

2. Goodies for buddies -- Another great way to teach your kids about giving is to do a little secret Santa exchange between them and their friends. They'll love finding the perfect gift for their besties, and seeing how happy they are when they open their presents.

3. Closet Cleanup -- Spend a Saturday holed up with your kids and have them help you sort through things in their closets that they no longer wear, or don't fit them anymore. After you have items gathered up, head down to the local Salvation Army or Goodwill so your kids can see that there are so many people in need who will benefit from the things they no longer use.

4. Family gift hunting -- Instead of going out by yourself (yes, I know it's a luxury) to do all of your holiday shopping, bring the kids with you to help pick out presents for their dad, siblings, etc. Gift giving is so much more satisfying when they know they've helped pick out something their family members will absolutely love.

5. Donate toys to a hospital -- Plenty of hospitals have toy drives each year, and I can't think of any better way to show your kids how wonderful it is to do something nice for those in need than to drop off a few gifts to kids who can't be in the comfort of their homes this season.

What do you do to teach your kids about the importance of giving?

 

Image via Mary Fischer