With their busy schedules, many parents overlook the importance of community service in their child's life. Serving the community teaches children responsibility not only for themselves, but also for other people. Through community service, children understand that their actions impact other families. Below is advice how to teach your children the importance of community service.
Talk about Community Service
Over breakfast or dinner, talk to your children about community service. Explain what it is and the different types of jobs they can volunteer to do to help others in the community. If you have volunteered before, talk about your experiences. Finally, invite your children to think of types of community service they might like to do. Try to reach a general consensus about a volunteering job that the entire family can do together. If everyone agrees about wanting to do something together and has the same ideas about what they should do, tell them that you will set up a time to volunteer.
Make It Happen
One of the biggest problems in teaching children about community service is providing the experience of volunteering. Pick a Saturday or Sunday a month or two in the future and dedicate it as the day that you and your children or even the entire family will volunteer. Contact local agencies to see if they permit children to volunteer and, if so, what jobs they would do. Make sure that whatever charity you work for is used to having children volunteer and that your children will be safe while volunteering.
What is most important is that you choose an activity that will be fun for your children. Do not choose an activity that would be frightening or not allow them to fully participate. Walking dogs at the local animal shelter, for example, could be great fun, but your children might not be old enough to handle larger dogs. Make sure that the activity you choose is age appropriate and contains at least a little fun.
Purchase Books about Volunteering
If you cannot find the time for community service, another way to teach your children about it is to purchase books that discuss volunteering. Your local bookstore or library will offer kid's books that discuss the importance of being a good member of the community. If you are unable to locate one in the store, consider checking online. Many national charity organizations sell books designed to teach children about volunteering in the community.
Volunteer at Home
If you cannot find a local charity that accepts children volunteers or do not have the time to volunteer, consider volunteering at home. Many charities are in need of flyers to advertise events or need help stuffing envelopes. Other charities may allow you to create gift baskets of food or clothing for them to deliver to families in need. Each of these tasks can be accomplished at home on your schedule. Just make sure to tell your children what the project is for and who the project will benefit. Also, let your children be creative and participate in the process. Event flyers and gift baskets don't have to look perfect; they just need to be crafted with good intentions in mind.