It’s hard to teach kids the concept of giving in a season all about wish lists and Santa’s Lap. But, we believe, it’s never too early to start raising little humanitarians. To wit: our favorite ways to teach the importance of giving back to humankind.

It Starts At Home

A good deep clean of your kiddo’s playroom can help remind them of just how lucky they are and much they have. Request their help in going through, organizing, and weeding out toys, books, and playthings they no longer use or want. And then ask them to set aside the items they think other boys and girls would want to play with. Every year our annual pre-holiday playroom purge turns up barely-used toys (some still in the packaging) that we happily donate to local organizations.

Homeless Care Packages

If there’s anything we’ve learned in parenting, it’s that our kids see everything. Even the things we’ve been conditioned to block out. This holiday season instead of passing by the homeless man at the stoplight (again), stop and hand them a care package (the interwebs sometimes calls them blessing bags). Involve your kids in choosing, buying, and putting together the bags. We suggest items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, gloves, hats and granola bars (the dollar store is a great place to load up). Package them in a Ziploc, encourage your kids to draw or write a small note, and then stash a few in your car.

Model Behavior

Time outs and sticker charts have their place in teaching good behavior, but you know what, so does walking the walk. If you want your kids to be kind, generous, and thoughtful humans—model the behavior. Sign up to work in a soup kitchen, volunteer at your library, join your community for a clean up. And then, if allowed, bring your kids along to watch.