5 Ways to Get Kids Involved with Helping Others

Sep 6, 2012

Today's guest post is written by Nancy Parker who was a professional nanny. She loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, parenting, child care, babysitting, nanny, www.enannysource.com/ etc. You can reach her at nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com

Growing up, my family always encouraged my brother and me to do whatever we could to help children who were less fortunate than us. Part of our weekly allowance was always tithed to the church, every Christmas we donated shoe boxes full of toys to “Santa,” who then took them to families who would be unable otherwise to afford gifts, and we were urged to reach out to anyone who was in need. This sentiment is one that has stayed with me throughout my teenage and adult years, and I think my parents employed several tactics that helped foster my love for helping others that other parents can use as well:

  1. Get the whole family involved. You can’t just expect your kids to have an interest in helping others if you aren’t also showing them how rewarding an experience it is through your own actions. You have to practice what you preach when it comes to volunteering or doing your part to help those who are less fortunate. Many characteristics or habits that kids acquire are obtained through emulating the actions of their parents, and actively volunteering as a family will help show them how important it is.
     
  2. Vary what you donate. One month take a bag full of canned goods to a shelter, the next volunteer your time at the soup kitchen. Donate a percentage of your income (or allowance) to the church if you’re a member of one. When kids discard toys, let them give them to underprivileged children instead of throwing them away. Show kids that there isn’t just one way they can get involved with helping others, there are endless ways.
     
  3. Involve kids with any service project you take on. Don’t just make kids sit on the sidelines and watch you work on a service project, find ways for them to help as well. Even if they’re simply bringing glasses of water to workers who are rebuilding a house, carrying tools or wood back and forth, or placing bread rolls on plates at a soup kitchen, being able to take pride in themselves and feeling like they’re a part of something bigger than they are will be something that will stick with them.
     
  4. Let them choose an organization to help with. Instead of forcing them to volunteer a certain way, give them options so they can choose one that appeals to their own personal interests. This will help them feel more connected the process, and will get them more excited about what they’re doing.
     
  5. Talk to them about how important what they’re doing is. Regularly talk to your kids about the benefits of volunteering and how important a task it is. Encourage them to ask you questions, and answer everything as honestly and openly as you can. Kids need to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing; otherwise, they’ll be disconnected and uninterested.

Getting kids involved with volunteering at a young age will help them foster a love of helping others throughout their lives. It’s up to us as parents, teachers and caregivers to show our children how important and necessary helping others is.

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