As a parent, trying to instill good values in a child can seem overwhelming. It’s difficult to know where to begin. If you’re looking for a hands-on way to teach your children the value of hard work and contributing to your community, bringing a child with you to do volunteer work can be a great educational activity. Beyond that, volunteering can be a great way to have fun with your child and create great memories for both of you.
If you like the idea of volunteering with your child, it can be difficult to know where to start. Is it possible to find an activity that you’re both interested in that can fit you and your child’s busy schedules? Keep reading for a few valuable tips and ideas that can get your family volunteering together!
Use resources to find volunteer opportunities that fit your family.
There is a wider interconnected network of volunteer organizations now than ever before, meaning it’s only getting easier to find the perfect volunteer opportunity. Volunteer match, for example, can not only help you locate volunteering jobs in your area, but will let you search based on what you’re interested in! This can be an easy way to get your child interested and invested in your future volunteer work. No matter what you or your child’s interest is--from pets to plants or music to machines--it’s likely that you can find volunteer position that can satisfy your interest. Get involved in the volunteer network and find something you care about!
Age is not a deterrent.
Whether you have a young child, a teenager, something in between or all of the above, there are opportunities that can work for your family. Getting involved with a community cleanup, for example, has something for everyone. An activity like cleaning a park has a range of different jobs fit for a range of different ages. While your younger child helps pick up trash, your teenager can be given a harder job with more responsibility. In an ideal situation, everyone has the chance to learn. Instead of being deterred by the ages of your children, consider it a qualifier to help you find the perfect volunteer opportunity for your family.
Explain the benefits.
Your children might be curious as to why volunteering matters. Whether or not they explicitly ask, it could do a lot to encourage your child if you explain the many benefits of volunteering. Younger children might be interested in knowing that volunteering
- Helps the community (this also might be a good chance to explain what a community is, and why it’s important!)
- Allows us to develop new skills
- Introduces us to new people who care about the same things we do
Older children, especially those interested in going to school or building a resume, might be more interested in the fact that volunteering
- Can reduce depression and stress, and generally increase happiness
- Offers an insight into potential future careers and hobbies (it’s a great way to learn whether you’re interested in medicine, or animal care, or any number of other things)
- Provides great references, as well as practical experience for resumes and applications
Make it a habit.
If you really want to promote the idea that volunteering and giving back to the community is important, one of the best ways is to make volunteering a habit. A once-off activity can be fun and rewarding, but to really encourage the behavior, try to incorporate it into your family culture. If your children see that you care about volunteering, they are much more likely to take it seriously themselves.
Find a volunteering position that really matters to you, and enjoy it. When you find a great way to give back to the community, your children will notice. Not every volunteer task is right for everybody, but the drive to give back and make a difference can be passed on and encouraged throughout a family.