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Bec's kids are spoilt. And she wants it to stop. Now.

Bec was literally hit with the realisation that her children are spoilt.

It hit me last year that my three kids were spoilt.

No, literally, it hit me. I opened our ‘board games/jigsaw/random electrical cords/Brad’s laptop from 2009 cupboard’ and BAM!  The Charlie and Lola, Winnie the Pooh and The Very Hungry Caterpillar jigsaws crashed down onto my head in some kind of fit of jigsaw rage.

And I don’t blame them. That board-games cupboard is like some kind of retail sweat lodge. It’s cramped, man. There are, oh I don’t know, say 32,000 other jigsaws crammed in that death trap of a cupboard, five different Play Doh sets (Italian Restaurant!  Ice cream Parlour! Dora! Something Something Shapes and Sea Creatures!).  A craft box (don’t even ask). Ten board games. Twister. And a “Charades for Kids” set which is yet to be cracked open (possibly because I would rather eat a box of hair than play ‘charades with kids’).

And that’s just the cupboard.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by IGA. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in her own words.

‘Lego, Lego, Lego, Lego, so much <insert expletive> Lego’

My kids also have a rumpus room and bedrooms reminiscent of Veruca Salt. Every nook is crammed with stuff. Stuffed toys, barbies, dress ups, pretend cafes and pirate ships, building blocks, a fleet of cars, trucks, diggers and planes, a stable of My Little Ponies, Lego, Lego, Lego, So Much <insert expletive> Lego and one loathsome Furby that, frankl, sounds like Cartman from South Park and has the social skills of your Aunty Karen after ten wines on New Year’s Eve.  FURBY DOES NOT STOP TALKING. EVER. EVERRRRRRRR.

The fact that most of the toys my kids have are hand-me-downs from friends or family is irrelevant. The simple truth is my kids – like most people’s kids – have too much stuff. Waaaaaaay too much stuff.  Toys are cheap in 2014 and my kids are drowning in stuff.

And this worries me. A lot.

Because along with teaching my kids to be resilient and empathetic and to have integrity and to always understand that the Counting Crows’ August and Everything After is one of the best albums of all time – I want them to understand and appreciate how much they have and how little others survive on. I want them to realise they have a responsibility to give back.  I want them to know that true success in life is to have been significant in your community. I want them to walk through their lives with a social conscience.

Which sounds awesome and noble and for some reason makes me want to start humming the opening music to Working Girl.  But how do you do all that?

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No idea.

So last New Year’s Eve I wrote up a list of the ways in which I could start teaching my three kids the importance of giving back.  We may not do everything on this list but we plan to give it a red-hot go.

1. Every few months do a clean out of your kids clothes and toys and fill a bag to give to St Vinnie’s.   This is the easiest and most obvious thing you can do with your kids. Help them sort through their clothes and find the items they no longer wear/love/fit into and put them aside to give to a local charity. Same goes for their toys.  Then go together as a family to drop the items off to the charity.

Bec wants to teach her children the importance of giving back.

2. Sponsor a child through World Vision.  When you sponsor a child, you’ll be given a photo to put on your fridge and regular opportunities throughout the year to send your sponsor child notes, photographs and small gifts. Talk to you kids about where your sponsor child lives, what their life might look like, do a bit of Googling to learn more about your sponsor child’s country.

3. Choose a family charity: Have a family meeting every January and maybe choose one or two charities that your family will support during the year. You could participate in the charity’s walks or fun runs, door knock appeals or find creative ways as a family to raise money. You and I both know you’ve always wanted to run a lemonade stand outside your house or is that just me?

4. Volunteer your time: You want your kids to see first-hand the joy that volunteering brings – let them grow up seeing you volunteer. Whether you help out in a soup kitchen once a year or deliver the Meals on Wheels food once a month – you’ll make volunteering seem like a normal part of every day life.

5. Teach your kids the art of appreciation. Take the time to teach your kids the importance of saying thank you for any gifts they receive.  Encourage (read: insist) them to write or draw thank you letters or cards. Explain to your kids that receiving a gift is a BIG DEAL and the importance of being grateful.

6. Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Once a month your family pledges to commit a random act of kindness in your neighbourhood.  Let the kids get involved and choose the recipient and get them to brainstorm how to anonymously make someone else’s day.

At IGA, we recognise that every one of us is an individual and that today we are a culturally and socially diverse nation of more that 23 million people. 

That’s why, through our network of 1,400 independently owned stores we tailor our range and brands to deliver a shopping experience to how the locals like it. View your latest local IGA  catalogue here. 

This summer, IGA is running a charity auction to raise money for St Vincent De Paul Society with the auction item being Anh Do’s red scooter from the IGA TVC.

The auction will be hosted on eBay and will be a call-to-action for customers and retailers to bid for the scooter via social media and editorial.

Auction commences on Wednesday 23rd of January until Sunday 2nd February

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