“Giving is the secret of abundance.” — Sivananda
All of us want our children to grow up to be responsible and generous. Giving them the opportunities to help out around the house with chores or simple tasks, such as cooking dinner or folding laundry, plants these seeds of independence and reliability. Making opportunities for your kids to play and interact with their peers and siblings help them learn to communicate and hone their interpersonal skills for years to come, important skills for whatever they do in life.
Let’s Go Chipper is an Eco-educational series of apps, books, and community programs that encourage your little one’s to get outside and play, learning about the environment and growing in nature! Our newest book, “Helping Hands,” is a great way to inspire your little one’s to help out their family, friends, and community! A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book support programs that benefit the positive physical and emotional well being of underserved children. To learn more, please visit www.letsgochipper.com. Bellow are 5 ways to encourage habits of kindness and service in your children on a daily basis.
1. Make service to others a family affair
You hear it time and again: Parents are the most influential role models and the best teachers for children. Children watch what adults do. Preaching to them to volunteer/feed others/help out at the local food pantry will likely fall on deaf ears if they don’t see the moms and dads doing it, too. Get involved in a local community service project at your local park! There are tons of opportunities and if you share your park service story with us on our Facebook page! Or purchase your own badge here and we will donate a portion of the proceeds in YOUR name to a park of YOUR choice!
2. Talk about it
Emphasize that not everyone has hot meals to eat and lots of clothes to wear. Children don’t typically recognize this, and it’s up to parents to teach them. Let them know about the project, and how they can offer a helping hand to those in need. Have them go through their clothes that no longer fit them and take a little trip together to drop off old clothes and toys at your nearest Good Will.
3. Involve children in a regular or semi-regular basis
When participating in community volunteer work, find something that can be done at least a few times each year. This doesn’t mean you have to fill backpacks with school supplies at the local community center or serve meals at the local food pantry every week. A consistent volunteer activity will stick in a child’s mind if they participate once a month, or even once every few months.
“It’s important to consider the basic logistics of any volunteer opportunity. If the opportunity is close by, a commitment to help out on a weekly basis may be fine. If it’s farther away, you may need to commit to helping on a monthly basis instead.”
4. Make sure your child can be actively involved in the service or project
Don’t expect to take children — especially young ones — to an activity where they have to sit and watch. They won’t want to keep going, and it entirely misses the point of including them in the first place. Compassionate Kids also advises parents to consider both their abilities and their children’s abilities when deciding on the kinds of community projects to participate in. Don’t overwhelm you or your kids–helping out should be a fun learning experience.
5. Use everyday opportunities to teach kindness
Teach children that some of the best ways to volunteer and help others is to simply do it as opportunities are available. In other words, kindness to others doesn’t have to be a structured event or community-planned charity work. The whole family can get involved in:
• Giving water to and offering help to a family whose car is broken-down on the road.
• Donating money, clothing, or toys to a family in need of assistance.
• Preparing and taking meals to those who have recently lost loved ones, had babies, or have family members in the hospital.
If showing kindness to others is a part of their upbringing, it’s easier for children to make it a consistent habit in adulthood. Make it the norm, not the exception, for you and your family. Get Chipper and get helping today!
Here are more community service ideas for children and resources for parents:
Raising Children Who Care: Volunteering Ideas for Kids by Silvana Clark
Community Service: A Family’s Guide to Getting Involved by KidsHealth.org