Growing a Giving Family
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Ask nearly any adult how they got involved in hands-on volunteer, charity, or community work and most will say the same thing: they grew up doing it. That means if you want to develop your child’s desire to give, you’ll need to start volunteering as a family. But before you begin, there are a few things you can do.
Charity Begins in the Home
Charity begins in the home when your children learn to help you and each other. Teach your kids to pitch in from the time they are little. While you do, you can share with them how some communities around the world have to help each other to survive. Once your child is familiar with giving, you can branch out.
Helping in your Community
Lots of families pitch in at soup kitchens on holidays like Thanksgiving, but this might not be the best place to start for your child. According to this CNBC post, kids may not be old enough to help out and end up getting in the way. That is more likely to leave a negative impression in your child’s mind about helping others.
Instead, find ways to get your child involved so he can use the skills he has now, such as collecting clothes around the home to donate. Here are more ideas:
● Participate in a localcommunity garden. These environments are created for city dwellers who live in “food deserts.” They are often are set up in formerly vacant lots. If you don’t have one locally, you can start one on your own.
● If you live in a rural or suburban area, find a local farm to see if they have community volunteer days. Kids often enjoy these because they get to see farm animals up close. They also can help with planting and other activities. Both of these ideas also make great learning experiences.
● Organize community clean-up days to help clean up after events, encourage recycling and e-cycling, and help neighbors who struggle to clean their yards.
● Parents.com recommendsyou get your children engaged in helping animals, like bringing pet food to your local Humane Society.
● Read this articleat Land O’Moms to find more resources for charity projects.
Helping the World
Children can feel powerless when they see the terrible conditions other kids suffer around the world on the news and in social media. You can empower them by helping out worldwide charity organizations.
● Natural disasters are very stressful for children. Pitch in by donating or helping at local relief centers as a family.
● Some organizations charge a few dollars a month to feed, educate, or bring water to a child and his family. They even allow you to actually know the child you are helping. This is a great way for kids to put a face with the help they are providing.
● Seek out faith-based ministries that serve the poor in other nations, or find a charity on your own at Charity Navigator.
Step outside the box and do something completely different. For example, if you celebrate Christmas, replace a traditional Advent calendar with a reverse Advent calendar. Give your child a small kind task to do daily for someone else. Make it fun for them while planting the seed that the greatest gift you can receive is making someone else smile. If you’re still stumped for ideas, here are 40 ways kids can volunteer at any age from Laura Grace Weldon.
It’s never too soon to start your kids – and yourself – on the road to being a cheerful giver. Start preparing your children to help the world by having them help at home and in your community.