The beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss, wrote;
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Children can make the world better through developing an appreciation for volunteering.
Here are some ways to make caring “a whole awful lot” of fun.
- Consider your child’s interests: What does your child naturally gravitate towards? Are they an animal lover, budding artist, creative writer, inspiring chef, or bookworm? There are volunteer opportunities that fit just about every skill set. To instill a love for volunteering, start with what they already love.
- Make the duration doable: Be realistic about how long you sign up your child to volunteer. A young child may only be able to help an hour or two while a teen may be able to commit to an all-day event.
- Understand the job: Make sure your child understands what they are going to do before they volunteer and that they are both capable and comfortable with what is being asked.
- Whistle while you work: While volunteering is important work, it can also be fun! Enjoy the teamwork and camaraderie that often accompanies volunteering. Make new friends. Laugh.
- Be a role model: Children model what they see – even older children. If kids grow up seeing their parents involved in community activities, they are likely to imitate their example.
- Schedule it: Parents are busy and these days children seem even busier. To make volunteering a regular part of your family’s routine, put it on the calendar so it becomes automatic.
- Make it simple: Volunteering doesn’t always have to involve background checks, adult supervision and consent forms. If you or your child recognize a need in the community, do what you can to fill it. Pick up trash on the side of the road, give a homeless person a hot meal from the drive-thru, create care packs and keep them in your car to pass out as needed, plant flowers.
- Get input: Discuss with your child what they think needs to be done in the community. Ask them for their ideas on ways your family can help. Brainstorm together. Kids are much more likely to be excited about volunteering if they came up with the idea themselves.
- Be a proud parent: Let your child know that they made a difference and likely whatever they did has ripple effects beyond what they may ever see. Tell them that they made something or someone better, that they did good and goodness spreads.
Tell them Dr. Seuss has nothing to worry about since they are a part of a whole new generation of kids who are learning to care — “a whole awful lot.”
Read more from Lara at Mercy Me! I’ve got work to do.