10 tips for encouraging sharing (and discouraging self-interest) this Christmas

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  1. Kids are naturally caring and generous; provide opportunities for them to care and share. And it’s never too early to start talking to them about sharing.
  2. Use Christmas as an opportunity to discuss sharing and share what you can with a person or organisation.
  3. Even if your child’s school teaches about charity, the parent plays a crucial role in developing a child’s positive emotions like empathy and caring.
  4. Be a role model so that your child learns to give to less fortunate people from watching you.
  5. Talk to your child about giving to charity and helping people in need- this is the most important thing you can do to help your child develop a charitable spirit. Start by thinking about what your child already knows about sharing. If they help a neighbour or donate time or money to a charity, use that as an example you can build on.
  6. Focus on talking about how sharing at Christmas will benefit other people (for example by making them happy), rather than telling your child to do it simply because it is the right thing to do.
  7. Be prepared for complex discussions about giving to charity- you’ll need to answer all your child’s questions and help them make decisions about when and how to give to a charity.
  8. Remember that there are many ways you can give, even if you’ve already blown your Christmas budget- teenagers can donate blood, younger children can give toys and books they have outgrown to less fortunate children and the whole family can get involved in a community organisation and donate a bit of time to a good cause.
  9. Involve your child in decisions that need to be made about how to help a charity and share this Christmas.
  10. Understand that children get back what they give- they experience happiness because they know they’ve helped someone else, develop problem solving skills and the ability to share and empathise and a better understanding of the world around them.


  1. Women Give 2013- New Research on Charitable Giving by Girls and Boys. Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Indiana University. Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Available from: (URL Link)
  2. Aknin LB, Hamlin JK, Dunn EW. Giving leads to happiness in young children. PLOS One. 2012; 7: 6. Available from: (URL Link)
  3. Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Who can give blood. 2013. (cited 2 December 2013). Available from: (URL Link)
  4. Willis, C. Decision making- the foundation of responsible behaviour. University of Arizona. 1999. (cited 14 October 2013). Available from: (URL Link)
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Date Created: December 10, 2012 Date Modified: January 30, 2014