The Christmas season is a good time to teach children a lesson about organizing. Even though they are more excited than usual at this time, they can still learn to take on some responsibilities to make Christmas a more pleasant time for themselves and others.
A good thing to keep in mind when parenting is to always have children take on the responsibilities for caring for themselves as they are able to do so. Adults often mistakenly think they are helping their children by doing everything for them. Children learn responsibility and become independent by caring for their own needs. School children have people to whom they want to give a gift at Christmas and can plan and organize their time and resources to take care of those gifts, to a great extent, themselves.
There is nothing better for organizing than lists. Children can make lists to examine their resources, remember the persons to whom they will give gifts, and dates for accomplishing tasks.
Most children have piggy banks and perhaps money from allowances. They can list the amount of money they have, along with ways to earn more money. They may also have gifts they have received in the past that are unused that can be re-gifted to their friends. They can look through magazines such as “Family Fun” for ideas of gifts to make. Just thinking about resources brings an awareness to a child of the need to save their money for needed times.
Next, children should make lists of those persons to whom they want to give a gift. This list should include their teacher, Sunday School teacher, mom and dad, sisters and brothers. Some schools request that gifts not be given to teachers, so this should be checked out before planning a gift. After these “essential” gifts are taken care of, they can choose friends or other special people to whom they would like to give a gift.
If a gift is to be given to a teacher or church worker, dates should be written down as to programs, the last day of school before vacation, or the last event at church before Christmas. It is easy to let these times slip up and not be ready. If the family has a calendar on the refrigerator, as many families do, these dates could be posted there.
When the lists are done, the children can begin to purchase or make gifts and feel secure knowing they have all under control. Children will enjoy Christmas much more if they feel that they have been useful in planning and giving. This small lesson in organization will carry over into other areas of life and help the child to be more confident in years to come. Mom and dad will feel less pressure in knowing that the child is taking responsibility for some of the tasks to be done. When a child takes part in the planning and execution of the plans, that child builds self-esteem and learns the true meaning of giving at Christmas time.