Adults understand the meaning and value words like “charity” or “volunteering” carry. Younger children may not grasp the concept of these just yet. However, they understand that helping other people is important and a good thing to do.
Whether it’s with other people, animals or a location, it teaches them empathy, compassion, gratitude and the importance of community. It also helps them build a natural instinct towards social responsibility.
When children get involved with volunteering, they get to see people and places facing challenges of their own.
They learn how to put their hardships in perspective and understand what others might be going through. This can have a profound impact on their experience of life and help them to be mindful of others.
Connecting with Communities
Volunteering has an impact on communities as a whole. Children are often more observant than others. Helping out in their local communities exposes them to the different people living within their community. It helps them to understand needs of people from different backgrounds.
Helping in a community is a great way for them to give back to an area they play, go to school in, and use the services of. It shows them that others within the community use the same areas or services as them; so, it is important to care for the community environment.
Volunteering in the community helps to build their confidence, develop interpersonal skills and form stronger bonds with people who live in their community
Volunteering can show your child that one person can make a difference. Even the smallest effort and sacrifice can change someone’s day, week or life.
Secondly, it teaches tolerance. Your child will come into contact with people from different backgrounds with all types of faiths, abilities, ethnicity, ages, level of education, income, sexual orientation and gender identity. Your child can learn to accept all types of people and understand that it is common values that unite them.
And lastly, volunteering becomes a productive way that children can fill their idle time. Whether it’s during summer holidays, weekends or after-school activities, they can donate some time to working on a cause that matters to them.
Parents and Guardians – Get Involved!
There is no better way to teach your children the importance of volunteering than getting involved yourself. Parents or guardians are role models for children. If they observe you being involved in your local community or a cause, they will look forward to it even more.
Work with them in an animal shelter; get the whole family involved in a community clean-up program or donate toys, clothes, food, etc., to local shelters. You can also take them to field trips or child-friendly seminars to expose them to important issues such as protecting the environment, homelessness, etc.
Between work, school, socialising and other activities, it can be easy to forget that there is something or someplace in need of help. Volunteering at an early age can make the difference of your child growing up with a sense of empathy and a drive to make a difference.