When Christmas comes around, I kind of dread it. My son’s birthday is just a week earlier and the magnitude of toys and gifts that he typically receives is just crazy. I know that he won’t use all the toys and a lot of them are duplicates of what he already has or something very similar. The house is already overflowing with Legos, cars, dress up clothes, blocks and every action figure made.
I am sure that many people can relate to the unnecessary need of so many toys. More than half the time they don’t even play with it or have the room to play. Kids become so spoiled with materialistic things that they can lose their appreciation for what they have.
A friend of mine reached out and wanted to connect with a child life program to donate her son’s toys. He was turning one a week after Christmas and she decided that this would be a great tradition to start with him. Every year he will get to choose a few gifts that he receives and then donate the rest to a children’s hospital. She is teaching her son a valuable lesson that hopefully others will catch on to as well.
So we gathered the extra toys and reached out to Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York to arrange for our drop off. Erin O’Brien is a certified child life specialist there and helps run a phenomenal child life program. She was eager to receive the donation and add it to the playrooms on the different units.
Child life programs are always in need of toys. They will be used in playrooms, waiting areas, at bedside, for kids on isolation and also given to children who celebrate their birthdays or holiday in the hospital, yes this happens a lot!
So how can you bring this tradition to your family?
-Instead of exchanging gifts to one another, you use that money to shop for kids in the hospital or other community programs.
– Letting your child pick what to keep and what to donate. This will allow them to be an active participant, give them control in choice making and build up their self-confidence in feeling proud of what they are doing for others.
-Maybe some family members give gift cards and let your child shop with them for the kids.
I will be incorporating this with both my kid’s birthdays and Christmas celebrations. Will you do the same?