We would all like to do more to help out. Here are some ways we can encourage our kids to make it a habit.
Some of us have more free time than others, and as busy parents, we often wish we could volunteer or be more available to those we care about. But for kids who get out of school at 3pm each day, those couple hours before homework and dinner can be put to good use in the community or at home. Here are some helpful ideas that can be fun and rewarding.
- Help a neighbor with the yard work. If you live near a retiree or a grandparent, have your able bodied drop by once a week and rake leaves or trim hedges. Even 30 minutes is an act of kindness, a little outdoor time and always deeply appreciated.
- Tutor a younger child. One of the best ways to learn is to teach, a wise teacher once said. When older kids help out a younger sibling or a neighbor, they not only cement their own skills, but they take a certain amount of pride in being able to effectively relay information.
- Crafting Holiday Gifts. Children love making things anyway, why not get the jump on the holiday season? Try homemade bath salts, soap and soap dishes, or a photo collage.
- Raise Funds for Charity. There are many ways to raise money for a good cause that don’t involve going door-to-door with a box of year old candy bars. Now with crowd sourcing and social media, kids can start their own campaigns or do grass roots work right from their laptop or tablet.
- Community Garden. Urban food growing projects are picking up steam all over the country and there is always work that needs to be done. Kids of all ages love to get their hands in the dirt and learn how to grow things. Bonus: picky eaters will often be more apt to try new things if they have grown them first.
- Animal Adoption Programs. Humane Societies always need volunteers and some even have programs for kids to come in and spend time with the animals, feed or even walk dogs.
Contributing is good for kids and while they may resist the idea at first, they will eventually find something that offers them the lasting satisfaction of a job well done. It also helps them take a break from their own busy schedules and keeps them active. And that helps everyone.