Empathy, compassion and gratefulness – these are all traits we as parents hope our children have. After all who doesn’t value a selfless and generous person? But considering how busy modern families are, when and how do you even find the time to teach your kids the value in these qualities?
Volunteering as a family is a perfect way to not only instil these values but also spend quality time while having a positive impact on your community. Granted this might sound daunting at first but think about it: it’s in a child’s nature to enjoy giving and helping others. Plus with a little planning, surely you’ll find opportunities that fit your family’s lifestyle. Before throwing yourself into it all, ask yourself:
- What do my children enjoy?
- How much time do we have?
- What can you do locally?
Don’t get too ahead of yourself, maybe start with small activities you can do within your own community or even at home. Have a chat with your children and see what they might enjoy doing coming to a decision as a family.
And now here are some activities that you might want to try out:
Collections for those in need
Food, clothes, toys – you name it! These are just some of the many things the less fortunate need and we have tons of. Collecting money is one of many ways you can encourage your children to be generous – you can do this with bake sales and other fun activities. However, it doesn’t need to be the only way.
Take the time to explain to your children there are many who are not as fortunate as they are (including children) and that they have the power to help. Why not spend some time sorting through some of their (and your) clothes, toys and books? Likely you’ll find things you no longer need or use that you could donate to your local homeless shelter or charity. You can also organise food collection with their school or simply with some of your neighbours.
Helping the elderly
The elderly are a group that often could use a helping hand. For those that live alone, it might be getting harder to do their chores – if you notice your elderly neighbour’s garden could use a little maintenance why not gather the little ones and help?
Or could you bring joy to those who live in retirement homes? Often the very young and old quickly create special connections, so perhaps taking a trip to a local home to participate in activities and help change the pace for those residents.
Allied Fleet is one of the many entities that provide transportation services for those in care homes, so these activities are not limited to staying within the same location. The best thing to do is giving the homes a call and find out exactly which activities you can all engage in.
Calling all animal lovers who unfortunately may not have the time to own one!
Have you thought about contacting your local shelters to learn of their volunteering opportunities? This is a great way to teach your child responsibility, selflessness and nurturing of another being. Perhaps full-time ownership is not quite an option, but some shelters offer fostering programs: you take an animal into your home on a temporary basis. If this is not something you can do, perhaps try offering to walk, clean, feed, play or simply contributing to the shelter.
There are many more opportunities we could discuss, but at the end of the day go for something you can all enjoy and learn from as a family.