Making Birthdays About Giving not Just Receiving

Mr P turned 5 this past week and it was an exciting time for our entire family. This little boy has been talking about his birthday and Christmas since Christmas 2011. The thought of cake, icing and toys has most little children buzzing. It has been a big year for him with all the moving, starting at a new preschool and just recently new kindergarten and going from being an only child to a big brother.He’s taken it all in stride and Mr BAM and I had to keep our urge under control to spoil him rotten for being so wonderful and accepting of all the change along the way. Normally his birthdays are pretty moderate affair, for instance this year their was no school on his birthday (no school on Yom Kippur in New York) so it was hard to organize a party while others were fasting.

It’s never too early to introduce the concept of being thankful to a child, so though Mr P got all the regular birthday trimmings – including a Toy Story cake! I also tried to share some concepts with him to make his birthday not just about receiving, but also about giving and being thankful.

I tried to organize some of these items as things to cross off a list everyday leading up to his birthday – a birthday countdown. It served the purpose of reminding him when his birthday was coming. Kids have a hard time getting a handle on time. Even when you try to explain it as “5 more sleeps til your birthday” they still don’t always get it.

If I were to do this perfectly (not likely!) next year, I’d create a much more visual list that we looked at everyday.

Ways to introduce giving and thankfulness around birthdays

  • Go through your child’s room and help them clean up old toys and clothes to donate to someone in need. Remind them that more is not always best. This way as they get new toys and clothes for their birthday they a reminded of those in need. It also encourages not living beyond their means, hoarding for no reason
  • Arrange phone/Skype calls with family members to thank them for their presents. Start a discussion about presents and how it is a gift and not a right
  • Have your child thank people for celebrating their birthday, including friends and teachers at school

How do you teach your child to be giving?



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8 Responses to Making Birthdays About Giving not Just Receiving
  1. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    October 1, 2012 | 10:41 am

    Teaching them and modeling that kind of thankfulness and gratitude is such a great idea. I really, really like your ideas. :)
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell recently posted..Sloppy Tots Casserole #OreIdaDinnerMy Profile

  2. Mariah
    October 1, 2012 | 10:55 am

    I adore these ideas! My son will only be 2 at his next birthday but I am going to start working on these! His birthday is just weeks before Christmas so I definitely worry about him thinking it’s all about getting things.
    Mariah recently posted..Home Gone Halloween! #KmartHalloweenMy Profile

  3. Cinny
    Twitter: CinnyBBS
    October 1, 2012 | 10:59 am

    That is such a great idea!
    Cinny recently posted..An exclusive interview with Papi & Chloe #BHC3BloggerDayMy Profile

  4. Sharon Greenthal (@sharongreenthal)
    October 1, 2012 | 11:05 am

    What I did when my kids were little was had them give their guests the goody bags at the end of the party, which they had helped to fill and create.
    Sharon Greenthal (@sharongreenthal) recently posted..The Safety of HomeMy Profile

  5. anita anderson
    October 1, 2012 | 10:55 pm

    i should try this as my lil boy is turning 6yrs old.

  6. marina
    October 5, 2012 | 3:20 pm

    That is so true!! More parents need to embrace this approach with their kids in our materialistic nation. Love what you did Mama!!
    marina recently posted..The Imagination Movers Rock Out Houston on their Rock-O-Matic Tour!!My Profile

  7. Our Happy Family Project | mama goes BAM
    October 10, 2012 | 11:07 pm

    […] less time on the computer most weekends, and sometimes spend no time at all. I am also trying to raise children who are not self-involved and understand the importance of giving. I’ve had these thoughts swirling around in my head for so long. I’ve got so many ideas […]

  8. […] has always been important to me that he knows holidays and birthdays are not just about receiving, but about giving too.  So I love the concept of Giving Tuesday, which is the Tuesday after Cyber Monday and is a new […]

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KiwiCanadian expat adventures with my husband and 2 kids from life in New Zealand to New York and back again. Adventures in inspired family living, travel, health & fitness.Read More »