You’ve probably heard it said before: “Children are the future.” The values and morals we instill in children while they are young will only continue to grow as they enter adulthood. This means that raising up children as respectful, responsible and altruistic people will help them to be respectful, responsible and altruistic adults.
And what’s one of the most effective ways to instill good values and compassion in kids? Through giving back. Oftentimes when we think of volunteering or donating, we don’t consider children. However, kids are actually critical members of our community—particularly because they are the next generation of philanthropists. So, how can you encourage the children in your life to be active and volunteer with their community? We have some ideas for how to get kids involved in giving back.
1. Volunteer as a family.
One of the biggest things you can do to teach children the value of volunteering is leading by example. Oftentimes, children follow the examples set by adults in their lives. Therefore, if you want your child to give back, then show them how you give back by volunteering as a family. Some organizations will allow entire families to volunteer with them, or you can get creative and make up your own activity to do together. Not only will you enjoy family time together, but you will help instill the value of giving in your children from an early age.
2. Donate items together.
If you don’t have much time to volunteer, don’t worry. Donating new or gently used items is another great way to get your kids invested in their community. Go through their toys, old clothes or other items together and ask what they want to give to children less fortunate than them. Or, go shopping together to pick out a few new toys they can give away to someone else. However you decide to donate, do it as a family so your kids will feel included and invested throughout the entire process.
3. Find a walk.
No matter what organization or cause you care about, there are plenty of fundraiser walks and runs your entire family can do together. Particularly during the fall season, there are lots of walks to join in to raise money for an important issue. Teach your child the value of fundraising by having them involved from the very beginning—signing up the team, raising money for the cause and walking the event. Walks are a simple, one-time event your whole family can join to make a difference.
4. Visit a home.
One place children are always welcome is at the local retirement or nursing home. Get connected with a home near you and invest in the residents by visiting with your children. Oftentimes, kids do a great job of cheering up the residents and inspiring new friendships. With consistent visits, you can even build relationships between the residents and your children. Check what organizations and homes are in your area and see how your whole family can get involved through visiting.
5. Send a package.
Finally, inspire your kids to get involved and give back through sending a care package. Build a package to send overseas, create a package to donate to a shelter or even put together a care package to give to the child’s teacher. Whatever type of package you create and whoever you give it to, have your children be as involved as possible. For instance, write letters to servicemen and women serving overseas. Or, have the kids draw pictures for other children in the hospital. By sending a package, your kids can be involved the entire time and truly feel like they helped brighten someone’s day.
Getting kids involved in giving back is a critical step in building up the future generation. Teach your children the value of altruism by trying out some of these ideas to help them get involved. Then, you can feel confident that they will grow into respectful, responsible and altruistic adult members of society.