9 Ideas for Volunteering With Children
Plus, why participating in community service together is important for your own family's connection
Families are filled with plenty of chaos these days –between parent’s commitments and work schedules, kids’ sports, multiple after-school activities and religious education —it’s hard to step back and center on family life.
Have we become a group of individuals swirling in different directions, sharing the same car pool and only sometimes eating under the same roof? Or are we truly a unit, with cohesive purpose, with a center in which the whole family finds connection?
Volunteering as a family is one way to re-establish and strengthen the family ties that can get lost when life gets hectic. Re-centering with a purpose, like committing to serve together, is essential to keeping communication lines open and solidifying a real meaning to family life.
Children learn to recognize their good fortune and blessings while discovering that even kids can make a positive difference in the lives of others – and that feels powerfully good. As an added bonus, family memories made while volunteering together will last long after the activities have passed. Kids who volunteer with their families are more likely to volunteer into adulthood, and that’s good for all our communities!
Involve your Children while Giving Back
- Get crafty and decorate reusable grocery bags and fill with kid’s favorite non-perishable food items. Feeding America offers a Food Bank locator, searchable by zip code.
- Practice Random Acts of Kindness – whether for their siblings, friends, teacher or neighbors. Make it a weekly ritual to ask your children, “what nice thing have you done for someone else this week?”
- Decorate seasonal greeting cards for soldiers overseas, for a local nursing home, or homeless shelter.
- Box up gently used clothing and toys – donate them your local charity thrift store or family shelter.
Many families already make a point to give back during the holidays – but what if that spirit of giving became an ongoing part of family life?
“Families who volunteer together have a built-in opportunity to reflect on what they did after they volunteered together!” – HandsOnNetwork.org
To establish a strong family volunteering tradition, all members need to participate in selecting where you will regularly volunteer. If mom supports the art museum but everyone else wants to help families in crisis, the family could compromise on a smaller commitment to art and a bigger one to family shelters.
Make it easy, Volunteer what your family already loves!
- Families who support green causes can focus their passion by volunteering at a recycling center or fundraising for a Rainforest preservation project.
- Sporty families can coach and support low-income kids at a youth league.
- Families who love the outdoors may volunteer for trail clean-up, or to maintain an urban garden or local organic farm.
- If you’re a musical family, help roundup instruments for kids whose parents can’t afford them or give concerts at a local nursing home.
- Technically-skilled families can support nonprofits by offering support for their websites, blogs and facebook pages.
Check out additional VolunteerSpot suggestions on how to turn your family’s hobbies into service!
Inspired to get involved as a family but stumped for a project? VolunteerSpot.com offers a free eBook to spark ideas: Family-Friendly Service Ideas from A-Z.
VolunteerSpot is the fastest, easiest way to organize parents and volunteers for school, team and community activities. No more reply-all email chains! Get FREE online signup sheets and volunteer scheduling at VolunteerSpot.com.