As parents, it’s our job to provide love, support and guidance for our children, and one of the best ways to do that is to teach them about acts of kindness and charity by getting them involved in volunteer work. Watching your youngster grow up to be a charitable, compassionate adult is well worth the effort. Here are some tips that will (hopefully!) make a lasting impression.
- Start young. Depending on the child, your kid could be ready to start helping by age four, but will certainly be at a good age by six or seven. And don’t discount simply bringing them when you do something charitable, such as donating blood or dropping off furniture to Goodwill. Explain what you’re doing and why.
- Repeat daily. Show your children that charity isn’t a one-time thing – it can be an everyday occurrence. Before bed, have the family share what kind thing each person did that day.
- Make it simple. While they might not be able to donate boat to charity at the age of eight, you can teach them that random acts of kindness can and should be performed every day. Helping others by holding a door or picking up something that fell are examples of gateway behaviors that can lead to grander acts. As they get older, have them help fold old clothes for donating or sort non-perishables for the food bank.
- Stay local. You could have your kids pick out treats and food for a local pet shelter and invite them to accompany you to drop it off; they might end up forming a lasting connection and commitment. Or ask them to join you as you wash an elderly neighbor’s car. Show them that they don’t have to travel to a third world country to make a difference in the world.
Nothing makes the world quite such a good place to be like people who take the time to help others, and a lasting lesson can start at home with the influence and enthusiasm of a parent.