By Veronica Batton, Unbound writer/editor
A few weeks ago, my older sister shared a photo on her Facebook page of my 5-year-old niece scrubbing the toilet in footie pajamas. As I scrolled through the comments I read that my niece was doing household chores to raise money for a Christmas gift to give to charity.
I thought it was a great idea. With tablets, smartphones, television and the Internet blaring ads for toys and sales, it can be easy to get distracted and stuck in the world of “me.”
Here’s a list of helpful hints to squelch those “I want” moments.
• Raise money for charity through household chores
This is a great way to help your child understand the importance of money and giving back. Not to mention you get a shiny, sparkling house in the process.
Sit down with your children and help them understand why helping others is so important. For example, if they get a little greedy around Christmas, one option might be a donation to the Unbound Christmas Fund.
Explain to your kids that the money they raise will buy a Christmas present for an Unbound sponsored friend. This Christmas gift might be the first and only gift a sponsored child has or will receive. Ask your kids how they feel when they get a Christmas gift, and how they can help give that feeling to another girl or boy.
• Get cooking
We have some great recipes on our blog featuring different dishes sponsored friends and their families eat and sell to earn income.
Many of the dishes featured on the blog are recipes from parents of sponsored children. Families can take out loans through parent groups to start a small business, such as a food stand, to help the family get on their feet.
• Mail call!
My niece loves to get letters addressed to her in the mail.
If you’re a sponsor and want to teach your children about what it means to give back to someone in need, make them the corresponding sponsor. Each letter will be addressed to them and they can start a lifelong friendship.
Your children and sponsored friend can write letters to each other and learn about life in another country. Encourage them to start a pen-pal relationship to help broaden their global worldview and learn about cultures around the world.
To make the switch, contact Sponsor Services at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (800)875-6564 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time.
• Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes
Sometimes it helps to identify with someone else by looking at the world through their eyes. Many families in our program walk long distances just to get their water, or sleep on mats on top of dirt floors because they don’t have the money to buy a bed.
Try out some of the daily activities of our sponsored friends and their families with your children. Take a walk around the block with them and explain that some children their age have to walk even farther just to get a glass of water. Then when you get back home, drink a glass of water with your kids and appreciate your blessings.
Another example might be to sleep on the floor for one night. You could even use a yoga mat or a towel to substitute for a straw mat.
Making these activities fun can help you get your message across. I hope these small acts can help you make a big difference. Good luck!