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    Simple Ways to Teach Kids about Giving at the Holidays

    Boy giving mom a drawing.Most of us hope that our children understand the joy of giving, but with Santa and wish lists and presents, it’s challenging to shift kids away from the focus on receiving. Here are a few of my favorite ways to teach children about giving, and they might even learn some important organizing lessons along the way!

    Involve your children in the gift-giving process. Show them how to make a gift list for their family, friends and teachers. Children love to spend time with you, so find a craft or kitchen project that will allow you to make these gifts together. There are many easy ideas here for gifts that kids can make.

    They will learn the pride of creating something with their own hands to give and the delight of seeing the recipients’ faces light up. Participating in this giving also teaches them planning skills, showing them the momentum that lists create and the joy you feel when crossing things off!

    Out with the old, in with the new. Because they’re going to get lots of new toys, explain to them that we have to make room for them by clearing out the old toys we no longer enjoy. We have a chance to teach kids in a way they completely understand that storage is a finite thing, that there is a concept of “enough,” and that clearing out is a natural part of life, just like the seasons in nature.

    Our A-B-C-D prioritization tool is easy for kids to understand, and helps with organizing skills as well as deciding what to give away.  Here’s what to teach them, in words they understand:

    • You can explain that an “A” toy is a favorite one that you love and play with all the time, as often as we eat or brush our teeth.
    • A “B” toy is one you play with a lot, as often as we go to the supermarket.
    • A “C” toy is one you don’t play with very much, as often as we have a birthday or holiday.
    • A “D” toy is one you really are not playing with at all. And D stands for DONATE to Goodwill!
    • We want to store our A and B toys where we can reach them and put them away easily, and our C toys up higher in a box or on a shelf.

    We want to explain to kids that donating our “D” toys (and possibly some “C” toys too) helps others and also helps the planet. Did you know that each year Goodwill diverts 2 billion pounds of household goods and clothing from landfills?

    Take your child with you to your nearest donation center, and explain to them that their donations help people in your own town to get jobs and services they need. (Don’t forget that you can get a tax receipt, too!)

    When you get home, you can plug your donations into the Donation Impact Calculator to find out how many minutes or hours of services your toys and clothing provided. And kids can play this fun matching game to learn which items to donate and which to recycle!

    How have you taught your children about giving? Share in the comments!

    Lorie Marrero
    is a Certified Professional Organizer® and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life and The Home Office Handbook. She is also the creator of ClutterDiet.com, an innovative program allowing anyone to get expert help at an affordable price. Her organizing books and products are sold online and in stores nationwide. Lorie is a spokesperson for Goodwill Industries International, and she is a Contributing Editor for Woman's Day. She has also served as a spokesperson for many other companies, including Staples, Brother, and Microsoft, and she happily lives in Austin TX.
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