Volunteering is great for kids. It teaches them life skills and gives them a sense of accomplishment. Most importantly, it helps them to develop a sense of empathy, letting them see things from other peoples’ points of view. If you want to volunteer as a family, here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Sort and Donate
If you’ve never done a volunteer project with your kids before, here’s an easy way to get started: sort and donate your old possessions for a good cause. Lots of organizations will accept thrift shop donations, and some organizations need clothes and toys to help their beneficiaries. Before you get started, sit down with your kids and explain to them why you’re doing this project. Ask them to think about the kids who don’t have as many toys as they themselves have, and then ask them how those kids might feel when they receive new toys. This is a simple way to get your kids thinking about others.
Make Blankets for Children’s Hospitals
Many children’s hospitals accept handmade blankets for their patients. This is a great opportunity to volunteer as a family for a lot of reasons. First, the blankets themselves will provide comfort to children in the hospital.
Second, because you’re doing something for children, your own kids will find it easier to empathize. Empathy is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets, and it often helps to start with smaller exercises. Most kids will relate to other kids before they start empathizing with adults, so a child-focused project is a great place to start.
Third, this project can be simple. You don’t need extensive knitting or crochet skills to get started. Fleece tie blankets work just as well.
Work in a Food Pantry
If your kids like hands-on work, then a food pantry would be a great place for you to volunteer as a family. Even better, why not bring a few donations when you go? When you volunteer with a food pantry, you get to help people who deal with food insecurity. Your active kids also get a chance to move around, help in a tangible way, and practice following directions.
Help Another Family Over the Holidays
Some organizations have “Angel Tree” programs or similar things that let you help another family over the holidays. With these programs, you buy food, gifts, or both for the family that you choose. This is a great way to volunteer as a family. Over the holidays, it’s easy for kids to get caught up in their own gifts and fun. By helping another family, you can get your kids excited about volunteering. Try to involve your kids as much as possible. Let them come with you to choose gifts for the family, for example, and ask for their input. These opportunities help your child shift their focus from what they want to what other people need.
Clean Up Your Community
Need a simple and spontaneous way to volunteer as a family? You can always do some community cleanup. You don’t need any special supplies to pick up litter in your local park, and you can decide to do it at any time. For kids who are eager to volunteer right now, this is your best option. Plus, you also get to spend time in the sunshine and away from electronic devices, so it’s a win-win for everybody.
Instill Empathy with Legacy Academy
Need some help instilling compassion and empathy into your child? We understand. As we said, these are life skills that take time and practice to develop. At Legacy, we nurture these life skills so that your children can use them for years to come. Ready to learn more? Contact us at Legacy Academy today.