Reverse Advent Calendar

How to encourage kids to be more giving

This guest post is from Becky Goddard-Hill, co-author of Create Your Own Happy – a happiness boosting activity book for 7-12 year olds and their families. All the activities are based on scientific findings that explain why doing them will create happiness.

Becky will talk us through the concept of the Reverse Advent Calendar idea as well as giving some great variations on how to get this done! You can also find more inspiration from the Create Your Own Happy website!

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” Dalai Lama

Teaching children to be more giving is essential not only to improve the world but in order to impact their own personal happiness.
We’re taught from when we are little that it’s better to give than receive, but is there any truth in this? Yes! MRI scans show the part of our brain that gets kids excited about sweets and chocolate is also activated when we give to charity or do something kind and giving to others.

I remember one Christmas when my children and I collected and delivered lots of donations for a foodbank and rucksacks of goodies for a homeless charity. We all felt much happier that Christmas, but it wasn’t just about the amount of the money or the stuff we had given, it was the time we had spent collecting things and working together with our friends who all wanted to join in too. That purpose made us happy too.

Why not try one of the activities below with your kids

• Join a fun run or sponsored sport event – if you enjoy sport why not sign up for a race and ask friends and family will sponsor you?

• Hold a bake sale – when my daughter’s school friend was poorly in hospital her class held a bake sale to raise money for toys and books for the children’s ward.

• Car wash – could you offer to wash family and neighbours’ cars for charity?

• Make something – friendship bracelets, stress balls, hairbands, can you think of small things your friends love to buy?

The Reverse Advent Calendar

A lovely idea for this time of year is to create a Reverse advent calendar. Have a look at this little vlog to find out how your family could join in with this giving project.

Different typs of reverse advent calendar ideas

• Collect pet food, blankets or towels for your local animal rescue shelter.

• Put together a rucksack for a homeless person – a thermos, clean socks and pants, a jumper, hat, gloves, chocolate, a toothbrush, toothpaste soup with a ring pull.

• Donate to a local food bank for families in need – ask your grown up if you can collect a couple of things each time you help with the shopping.

Giving is such a source of joy that will not only help your children become happier but will also make the world a better place!

Get your own copy of “Create Your Own Happy” today – this is a wonderful book to give at Christmas and to work on through the new year!

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