Do you want a good way to create more volunteers in the world? Children who volunteer are much more likely to continue as adults, so get them volunteering at a young age!
In addition to being good for the community, volunteering offers many benefits to children. It teaches them about responsibility, compassion, empathy, tolerance and gratitude. Even toddlers and preschoolers can have meaningful experiences when they volunteer. The United Way discusses many reasons why children should volunteer, we’ve summarized their findings here:
- Volunteering enhances development by increasing self-esteem, responsibility and an interest in learning. It also helps develop social skills
- It promotes a healthy lifestyle and choices, children who volunteer are less likely to become involved in at-risk behaviors
- Helping others teaches social responsibility and helps children develop empathy and learn that one person can make a difference
- Volunteering crates a lifelong ethic of service
- It improves the community and…
- It’s fun!
Volunteering is also a positive way to spend quality time together as a family. It’s a good opportunity for parents to teach their children about social issues and for children to see their parents as positive role models.
To get started volunteering with your child decide if you want to participate in a one-time event or an ongoing opportunity. Think about what interests your family and also what your kids care about. There are many, many opportunities appropriate for families with young children. Here are a few ideas:
- Serving dinner once a month at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter
- Cleaning up your neighborhood or a park – picking up garbage, planting flowers
- Volunteering at an animal shelter or offering to care for an abandoned animal
- Spending time in a nursing home
- Befriending a person with disabilities
- Collecting books and games and delivering them to children in the hospital
- Collecting food for a food pantry
- Delivering meals to people who are homebound
- Participating in walks to raise awareness and fight disease
- Tutoring younger children