We all try to raise good kids -- it's never too early to raise kids to do good, too.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to teach children important values while spending quality time together. It shows children the importance of making a difference, and instills a sense of appreciation for the comforts and blessings of their own lives.
Even small, simple volunteering activities can lead to lifelong habits of caring, contribution, and community-mindedness.
We wanted to start this tradition early – parents can get the ball rolling with children of any age, even with babies! Whether you’re delivering meals to the homebound or visiting local nursing homes for "toddler days,” it’s a good way to give back and a wonderful way to stay connected to the community you live in.
I get my daughters to help with the smallest of activities, like gathering a bag of old clothes or toys they've outgrown, for charity donations. It can be a little difficult because every toy suddenly becomes their “favorite” again, and at times, they find them hard to give up. I try to help them understand how much their charity would mean to some other child – in the end, they’re thrilled by the thought of making a less lucky kid smile.
I’ve learned to tap into my children's interests when choosing an activity, now that they’re a little older. My girls love animals, so we help an elderly, homebound neighbor walk her dog a few times a week. Without a dog of our own, it certainly is a treat for my daughters and they look forward to it. Our family also helps with our daughters’ pre-school fundraising activities. They love being involved, whether it’s a sausage sizzle or Christmas market, and it’s a great way to show them what comes of helping out: The pre-school built a fort in the playground with the money we raised.
We present volunteering in a fun, relevant, and engaging way, and it’s turned out to be as rewarding for our girls as it is for us.
A freelance writer from Melbourne, Australia, Amanda Edwards especially enjoys writing tips on toddlers. She runs her own online wholesale business, and spends her days caring for her two young daughters, Grace and Milla.
Parenting advice is given as a suggestion only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider.