25 Ways to Engage Your Toddler in the Season of Giving

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I love Christmas. I love the music. I love the decorations. I love the gift-giving, cookie eating, movie watching, and Santa letter writing. I want to share all of the fun and merriment with my children. At the same time, I don’t want to completely lose the true meaning of Christmas. While I want my kids to get excited about Santa and decorating the tree, I also want them to understand that this is really a time for reflection, generosity, and selflessness. As such, I love the idea of reverse Advent calendars. Instead of receiving a daily treat, you perform some act of kindness. Reverse Advent calendars compel us to take a moment, each day, to pause from the materialistic aspects of Christmas and to instead consider how we can be more generous and kind.

But how to make one that my three-year old can understand and perform? It took a little creativity and some consulting with other moms to compile such a list. So, in the spirit of sharing, here are 25 Advent Acts of Kindness that even your toddler can do:

1. Give someone a hug
2. Take in the neighbor’s trash cans
3. Help clean-up without being asked
4. Draw a picture for someone
5. Tell a joke to make someone laugh
6. Fill a shoebox with supplies for the homeless
7. Smile at everyone you see today
8. Help make dinner
9. Bake a treat for the mail carrier
10. Donate books from our book collection
11. FaceTime a loved one and tell them that you love them
12. Hold the door for someone
13. Give someone a compliment
14. Donate a toy from our toy collection
15. Tell someone why you are thankful for them
16. Make a homemade gift
17. Send a card to someone
18. Invite someone over to play
19. Say a prayer for someone
20. Offer to help someone today
21. Pick out a Christmas gift for someone else
22. Do something good for the Earth
23. Deliver a treat to a friend
24. Sing a Christmas song to cheer someone up
25. Let someone else have a turn first

In my former life, I spent my days teaching history to emotionally-charged teenagers. Now, I spend my days teaching kindness, hygiene, and ABCs to emotionally-charged toddlers. I love to be outdoors and I cannot wait to get back to traveling once I wrap my head around flying with kids/their gear.