If you'redoing Holiday helper or any holiday donations - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 12-01-2005, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How are you explaining about donating goods to your young children? DD is 3 and we were packing up our holdiday helper box. DD asked what I was doing and I told her that some children need toys and clothes and it is nice to share with others who need help. She wasn't realthrilled with giving some toys away although we have way too many and the toys were ones that had been packed away. She didn't throw a fit or anything but she kept wanting to take the toys out saying, "I still need this"
There are a couple stories in the holiday helper thread (in TAO)about young children happily running off to get toys to donate. My kid didn't really respond that way. She did pick out one doll to donate but it seemed like, "well, ok if I have to, I choose this one" How do you get kids to understand that level of empahty? Also is it too much information for such a young child to hear that sopme kids don't have toys or enough clothes? Will that create worry?

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#2 of 8 Old 12-06-2005, 12:18 AM
 
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My oldest dd is a "keeper" and while now at 9yrs old she understands the meaning behind giving to others and why it is important, she still has a hard time with it. My 4yr old dd willingly donated all of the videos she had outgrown, gives her change (or mine) to the Salvation Army kettle with a smile, and is excited to give canned goods for the food drive. It could be a personality thing but I think 3 is still pretty young to "get it". Kids at that age developmentally think of themselves as the center of everything. It is nice that you are setting an example for her to follow and I don't think it will create worry if you keep the explanation simple and make it seem like a positive thing to do.
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#3 of 8 Old 12-06-2005, 02:11 AM
 
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I have the same problem with my 9yr old DD. When I talked to her about donating for Hurricane Katrina she agreed reluctantly, but then only chose things that were broken or missing pieces. She refused to part with anything else, even things she'd had in boxes for years.

Now, if we're out somewhere and she sees a donation jar she wants to contribute, even with her own money. But the actual things she already owns are just not going anywhere. ~sighs~
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#4 of 8 Old 12-06-2005, 09:12 AM
 
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7yo ds doesn't verbally object when I explain what I'm doing, but he's also not thrilled. In fact, we walked by the Salvation Army thing the other day and I gave each of them some change to drop in and he said "I'm keeping it to put it in my bank." I told him it was his choice, but that he has lots of change in his bank and there were other families that dont' have any change in their banks. He still insisted that I'd given it to him and that I couldn't tell him what to do with it. Made me very sad. The girls, however, love to give to others. I just hope that ds starts to get it soon....we've been doing angel trees, etc (except for this year) since before he was born, you'd think he'd get it by now.
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#5 of 8 Old 12-06-2005, 10:06 AM
 
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Hey - I think if you prefaced the giving to the kids with "Here's some money to put into the donation bin" then I think you do have the right to say either it goes into the donation bin or it goes back to me. I fyou gave him the choice, and you don't like his choice, well, um, I guess you gotta suck it up, mama. Sorry. I wouldn't be happy either. I think it IS a personality thing. Some kids are good sharers and some kids just have a hard time with sharing. For a long time, even though she is a good sharer, I didn't do any of that kind of donation in front of dd becuase I think it is hard to let go of toys and books and clothes. But when she was weeny, like 2 I think, and did her first halloween trick or treet, I decided (when she came home w/a bag of candy as big as she was LOL) that we would split the candy in half and give half to children stuck in hospital who couldn't trick or treat. So that first year we did it, and we've gone and done it ever since. She has a LOT of control over what she keeps, like basically she can keep as many things as she is old, and then the rest get put into piles of Hershey bars, Smarties, M&M's etc. and then half of each pile goes back in her bag, so she still has a TON of candy left (enough to last till easter LOL), but she ALWAYS comes with to donate the candy. She really likes it, and it doesn't even take an hour of our time. The pediatric ward here has a Ronald McDonald house, which is a great place to leave it. Last year there was an 11 yo boy who was hit by a car on Oct 30th, and we gave him the entire bag (his half LOL). So I think that's helped her learn to let go a bit. But she still doesn't like letting go of toys LOL.

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#6 of 8 Old 12-06-2005, 11:06 AM
 
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Some kids have a tendency to fetishize objects. I know this very well, because I was one of them! While I enjoyed helping others as a kid, I had a very hard time parting with stuff, particularly animals and dolls--anything that had a face and a personality and therefore seemed like a "real" person to me. I loved giving away OTHER people's things, however. I was more than happy to "help" my mom go through her closet and find stuff to donate.

Another issue for me was that the things I owned had memories associated with them. I still have a really hard time parting with stuff for this reason.

Anyway, my point is that it may not be that your daughter doesn't like giving, but that she is attached to her things for one reason or another. Maybe something worth exploring with her, as much as you can given her age? Maybe you can also get her involved in some other giving activities that don't involve giving away her old things (not as a substitute, but just to give her the idea)--putting change in a donation bucket, going to the toy store and selecting a small toy to donate, etc.

OT: A funny story I just thought of. When I was in third grade, my class adopted a family for the holiday. I had a big black toy van that I wanted to donate--but I thought it seemed a little old and dusty and I wanted the kids to like it. So I greased the whole thing with Vaseline to "polish" it and the stuck it in the donation bin. Yuck!
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#7 of 8 Old 12-06-2005, 01:37 PM
 
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How do you get kids to understand that level of empahty? Also is it too much information for such a young child to hear that sopme kids don't have toys or enough clothes? Will that create worry?
I don't think that it necessarily creates worry if you can present it in terms of a problem that can be (and will be) solved. We're doing an angel tree with my three year old, and we talked about how some families don't have money to buy presents at Christmas time. We talked about how she would feel if that were our family. We then talked about how there is an organization that helps those people to make sure that everybody who celebrates the holiday has gifts under the tree, and how we could help. She definitely got it... I thought we'd buy one of the two toys and one of the two clothing items from the list we had, but she said, "But Todd needs LOTS of toys for Christmas." We decided we'd buy both toys on the list. She was also very concerned about whether he would have presents for his stocking. Anyway, I think that you can present this information in a way that is reassuring (we can fix the problem) rather than worrying.
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#8 of 8 Old 12-06-2005, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you to everyone who replied. I am glad to see that I am not the only one who has a "non donater" (She shares just fine...the giving away is the problem )
The suggestions were very helpful. Every single reply here really helped. and I got kick out of that vaseline story!! Thanks everyone...Hopefully by the next holiday helper thread I can be a proud parent posting about my DD,too.

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