Please welcome our latest guest blogger Julia, from the blog Julia Inserro, where she writes about motherhood, marriage, travel, and expat life. She is also the author of the best-selling children’s book Nonni’s Moon. Read more about her at the end of her Simple Service Post!
Simple Service: Sharing Is Caring…But Then What?
If you’re around little kids at all, you hear them parrot back “sharing is caring” all day long. It’s a great phrase, but what does it really mean to them and how can we get them to embrace it and not just say it?
One way that we have been encouraging sharing in our house starts in October with the flood of Halloween parties. Halloween is a really big deal where we live, and the parties start in mid-October. This means that the candy collecting starts then as well. So, by the end of it, when Halloween actually arrives, our kids have loot bags overflowing with candy.
I think we started it two years ago, when our kids were four, two and two. It was the first Halloween that the little ones really participated in but the last thing they needed — or we were going to permit them to have — was a pile of candy half their weight. So, we let them sort through everything and keep a third of it. The rest of it, we bagged up in smaller portions; and then the fun began. We let them go out and give the bags of candy to whomever we met.
Where we live, there’s a team of landscapers we’ve gotten to know, so we started with them. We loaded up our wagon with ten bags of candy and wandered around handing them out. At first, our kids were a little hesitant, but after getting a few delighted responses, they really got into it and it was a lot of fun for everyone.
The next big holiday was our annual cookie party in December. This is something we’ve done for the last 10 years, even before having kids. Everybody brings a batch of their favorite cookies and we all enjoy tasting all the favorites and catching up with old friends. Despite my repeated pleas for everybody to take bags of cookies home, we are always left with piles of delicious goodies. So, once again, we make up a bunch of bags, load them up onto the wagon, and head out to our neighbors and friends who weren’t able to make it.
This tradition has now extended to any event or party where we have delicious leftovers. Our kids are used to packing up extra cupcakes after a birthday party and handing them out to people we meet.
We have managed to extend this concept into clothes and toys as well. When the little ones grow out of something, I asked him if it’s OK if we hand it over to someone we know who had a new baby, or a younger friend. Admittedly, it took a while for this concept to be fully embraced. My son took the longest. Took us about four months of asking him if we could pass on a tricycle he had outgrown to a friend who had a two-year-old. Finally, after much gentle nudging, my son relented. But I made sure to let him be the one to hand it over, so he could get to know the feeling of giving.
It’s been two years since we started our “sharing is caring” tradition and I have to say I’m pretty proud of my kids. They now really enjoy the giving aspect of it. I’m not saying they’re always willing to hand over favorite toys or clothes, but they at least understand the concept.
So, the next time you hear your kid spout out, “sharing is caring.” Ask them, “What does that mean to you? How about we try it out?” Let’s start raising a generation of givers together.
About the Author
Julia Inserro is a mother of three and author of the best-selling children’s book, Nonni’s Moon. She lives abroad with her family and four obnoxious cats. She has two new children’s books coming out in 2019. You can follow her at www.juliainserro.com or on Facebook or Instagram.