A good friend recently asked how to go about volunteering in the community with her kids. Because of our busy lives and hectic schedules, it can be difficult to fit in something new. When we’re not working, we find time to do things that we value, whether it’s sports, music lessons, girl scouts, or just getting together with family and friends. If we value giving back to the community and teaching our children to be kind, good citizens who appreciate their blessings, then we may choose to set aside quality time to volunteer with our kids! Here are some ideas:
- Find three options for volunteering in the community and let your child choose which one you’ll do together. Animal shelters, nursing homes, and food kitchens are often looking for volunteers. Check out Volunteer Match to locate volunteer opportunities in your area.
- Plan to volunteer with friends! We sign our kids up for sports or other activities with their friends because it’s motivating for them (plus we can carpool!). Why not schedule a monthly volunteer time with friends to make it fun and motivating?!
- Kids love earning money! Help your little entrepreneur choose a charitable cause that they can raise money for by donating partial proceeds from their lemonade stand! Or set up a weekly allowance for your child and teach them to save some of it, spend some of it, and donate some of it to a charity of their choice. If possible bring your child to make their donations in person so they can see what an impact it has!
- Plan a volunteer vacation for your family! There are many opportunities to help a community in need or make a difference for the environment. Whether you have a few days or a few weeks, Volunteer Guide can help you learn more about and plan a volunteer vacation with your children. Although most volunteer vacations actually cost you money, part or all of your travel expenses are tax deductible for U.S. residents.
- Rather than exchange holiday gifts with friends, plan to make a donation together! For example, set aside a day to make a Toys for Tots donation and have hot chocolate together afterward, or visit Save the Children for opportunities to buy a goat or help educate a young girl!
As Betty Reese so insightfully put it, “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito!”. I think it applies not only to volunteering, but also to our day-to-day interactions with our kids! How do you spend quality time giving back with your children?