Living a long, healthy and fulfilling life starts by putting good in, and we are not just talking about food. The deeds we perform at a young age carry with us forever.
To give is better than to receive, so goes the quote. During the holidays, Child Psychiatrist Joe Austerman says to use this time as a teachable moment for your child.
"I think it's a valuable lesson, and actually will precipitate in the growth of the person, emotionally and behaviorally," Austerman said.
Austerman says that telling your child to give on Christmas is not the best idea. Show them by helping pick out old toys they think will be fun for kids to play with.
"So, I talk to parents about taking toys that maybe aren't being used at home and donating them to needy children," Austerman said. "Being part of something where you're giving back to the community."
Have an open and honest conversation with your son or daughter, he added. "I think you raise a more well-rounded person."
Austerman says children at a young age can appreciate and understand that not everyone is as fortunate as they are. Older children may be more inclined to volunteer at an animal shelter or soup kitchen.
"Kids that are exposed to volunteer activities, or to donate, or to do something that helps other children or other people, actually, you can see this play on empathy," Austerman said.
Finally, Austerman says lessons stick with kids better when they find something they are passionate about.
"They are much less likely to bully," he said. "They actually do better academically, and they go further academically."
Austerman says children who volunteer also tend to volunteer as adults too.
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