With the big day now only a matter of weeks away, it’s most likely that a haul of shiny new toys is at the top of your child’s wish list to Santa. Receiving a gift with love is a pleasure at any age, however the festive season is a wonderful time to teach kids the meaning of generosity and embrace the true spirit of Christmas…

 Ask any child what Christmas means to them and the reply will mostly likely involve elves working furiously up in the North Pole to make them toys to be delivered on Christmas Eve on a sleigh-pulled by a red-nosed reindeer. Children however are naturally generous. Watch any child toss a coin into a charity box or bring in a present for their teacher and you can see the sense of joy it brings. Altruistic children become altruistic adults so why not think out of the usual gift box this year by helping them select a few presents for their loved ones that will literally change lives and then have a conversation with them about the kindness they have shown to another family or child across the world.

How to encourage acts of kindness:

Be a good role model. Teaching by example is the most effective way to influence your child’s behaviour.

Think of others. When your child shows you their Christmas gift list ask them to make a list of what other family members would like too.

Give old toys a new home.As any parent knows getting kids to give away their toys is a tough gig but if you can adopt a one-in-one-out policy and encourage them to recycle toys they no longer play with by giving to charity or younger family members or friends.

Pile on the praise. Recognise when your child displays generous behaviour and tell them how happy it makes you.

Forget endlessly searching the shops or scrolling online to find the perfect gift for those tricky-to-please friends, family members or teachers. This year Ni4kids is partnering with international development charity Concern Worldwide to help children break free from hunger. By buying one of their alternative gifts this Christmas, you can help transform the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people – people like Alida and her only child Fiobona who live in the world’s hungriest country. Years of conflict in the Central African Republic have forced more than a million people from their homes, villages and farmland. When they return, many don’t have seeds to sow or are reluctant to plant crops without a stable future. As a result, crop production has fallen and food prices have soared – leaving 2.5 million people hungry and in need of help.

Fourteen-month-old Fiobona (pictured here with her mum Alida) was one of those not getting enough nutritious food to thrive, weighing no more than six kilos and severely malnourished before Alida, took her to a Concern-supported health centre where she received vital emergency therapeutic food to help her daughter recover. Within a few months, Fiobona had gained almost a kilo and was out of danger. Alida told us: “I believe that the help and advice Concern is providing my child and me will help improve our lives for the future.”

The ready-to-use therapeutic food given to little Fiobana is bursting with enough vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients to save a child from malnutrition. Mums can treat their babies themselves, reducing their time away from home. In fact, emergency therapeutic food has transformed hundreds of thousands of children’s lives in recent years and costs just £26 for a one month’s supply – the same price as a novelty Christmas gift that will be quickly disregarded by January 1.

Concern Gifts really make a difference and bring joy to families around the world. From village wells, to eco stoves, avocado trees to solar lights, school fees to honey bees, there is plenty to choose from for your nearest and dearest and for every gift you buy, you’ll receive a card in the post to give to your loved one to show them the generous gift that has been purchased in their name.

 Even better, when you shop with Concern before December 24, the UK government will match the value of selected gift donations pound for pound and emergency therapeutic food is one of them! As part of Concern’s Free from Hunger appeal, the matched funding will go towards its work to improve the health and nutrition of mothers and children just like Alida and Fiobona. Visit gifts.concern.org.uk or call Tel: 0800 032 4001.

 

Image credit for Alida and Fiobona image – Chris de Bode/Panos for Concern

Nadia Duncan

Author: Nadia Duncan

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