Start Small...5 Things You Can Do to Get Your Kids Excited About Giving and Volunteering Opportunities- Without Leaving the Couch!
In our very first blog post last week (click here to read), we told you all about For-Purpose Kids and why it’s so important to get kids involved in giving and volunteering at a young age. Most of us agree that our world is headed in a bit of a scary direction and that we need to do more to teach our kids about empathy and compassion to shape the kind of future we want for them.
So now you’re ready.
You’ve been thinking about different volunteer opportunities for your kids, grandkids, students or any other kids you find (JUST kidding, please don’t go in search of kids... use the ones that are already in your life!) and you’ve gone from collecting cans of soup in the neighborhood to planning a month- long volunteer experience building houses and rescuing orphans in remote areas of the world…and, of course, looking like the “formerly known as” Jolie-Pitt clan while doing it.
But before you go booking those plane tickets, let’s pause for a moment.
We don’t want this to be like those New Year’s Resolutions we all make every year, where we set these grandiose goals and then, 7 days in, give up because we realize it’s way too hard to lose 50 pounds, get a new job that pays more AND save the world…all at the same time. So- what do we do?
We start small.
We start with things we can literally do with our kids, on the couch (yes, even if our kids are buried under pillows) or on the carpet during circle time in the classroom (where you may ALSO have kids buried under pillows).
Here's a list of 5 things you can do that won’t take too much time or preparation while teaching kids about giving back:
- Read children’s books with themes about Giving & Volunteering. Don’t worry if you don’t have any lying around at home just yet- we have some recommendations for books on our website that we think are perfect for this- check it out here! And if you don’t want to take our word for it, here’s another list from Scholastic that you can refer to for other suggestions.
- Brainstorm ideas of things that you could do together to volunteer or give back to your community. What are your interests as a family? Try and incorporate things you already care about, AND like doing, so these things don’t seem like a chore. If you need some ideas of volunteer opportunities for kids and families, check out this great article here from Parents Magazine.
- Discuss receiving donations in addition to, or instead of, gifts for upcoming Special Events and Celebrations. Let’s be honest- what kid needs another toy to play with for 5 minutes before throwing it in the corner, never to be played with again. This is a perfect opportunity to teach kids about giving back some of what they have to others that have more of a need. (More on this topic in next week’s blog post)
- Ask your kids if they have friends they would like to ask to volunteer with them in a group, or as a “club”. Just as it is easier (and more FUN!) for adults to often “achieve” things when working together as a group (think running buddies or writing partners), the same is also true for kids.
- Order a For-Purpose Kids Toolkit HERE (you know I had to throw that in there, right?)- our Toolkit incorporates ALL of the ideas above, as well as everything you need to get your kids started on their journey of serving the community and the world in which they live. And what is everything, you may ask? Our Toolkit comes with The Giving Book, guides for adults and kids to use with the book, as well as a cool t-shirt, journal, pencil AND stickers- and who doesn’t LOVE stickers?
So- we first told you WHY it’s important to get our kids involved in giving and volunteering and now we’ve told you HOW you can get started- literally while sitting down. But remember…
Be realistic- don’t take on more than you can follow through on…
…or more familiarly, bite off more than you can chew. We want to be an example for the kids in our life and we want them to see that this is a priority and not something that gets moved to the “later” pile of “things to do”. Good luck and here's to serving the community well.
Taking small steps today to create the world we want for tomorrow.