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Giving is MORE than Toys

By Gopi K. Patel, MSE.d, Special Educator


There are many ways of giving back this holiday season, along with the age-old traditional gift-giving. Here are some tips to help your youngsters understand the concept of giving no matter what you celebrate.


Help your children understand the meaning of giving to others:


  1. Plan with your children or grandchildren: Make a list of people they would like to give something to, and ask them why. This is a great opportunity to talk about how this person is special to them. For older children, it is a great way to discuss if this person has gone through any big changes (a new born baby). Have your children talk about their own feelings, as well the feelings of others.
  2. Talk about the gift they would like to give, and the cost: Have your child be a part of the picking-process. How much is the child allowed to spend? Why this person/friend would like a particular present over another?
  3. It's more than just toys: Help your child make special holiday cards or cookies to give along with the gift. Or this could be the gift itself!


When choosing the PERFECT gift for your child:


  1. The best gift you can give your child is your TIME. Make special time to decorate the house, make cards and cookies and wrap presents. Give your children some gifts that can be done together.
  2. Think about your children’s interests, wants, and likes/dislikes, along with their age. The young ones love wrapping paper, and the box itself sometimes more than the present itself. Consider giving only few gifts that are on the list for the older children. This way the gifts are appreciated and cared for. Choose gifts that can be played together with you, siblings, and friends.
  3. Think about your little ones feelings—Too many toys, boxes may over-stimulate them. What might their reaction be when they open presents—will they be indifferent, in tears, or excited.
  4. Don’t forget about your own feelings. How do you truly feel towards the holidays – are you excited, anxious, overwhelmed or depressed during this time of the year. What sort of traditions do you want your children to carry on when they grow up? Buy presents as a token of your love and thoughts and not as guilty parent because you work too much or yell too much. Gifts are not substitutes for your time, love, and attention.


CHARITY: Also, include your children in giving to others who are less fortunate. Volunteering time at the local soup kitchen, children’s coat drives, collecting toys they don’t play with and donating them. Are all great ways of giving. Even encourage giving away one of their favorite toys. Sharing is a great way of giving.

But more than anything, ENOY your time this holiday season with your young ones!!!

Happy Holidays,



If you liked this article, you may also want to read our other developmental articles:


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