Sign me up!Homeschool will be starting in just a few weeks. Yikes! As I start planning for our school year, I'm pulling out books and creating lesson plans. But I'm also considering places for my kids to volunteer. Whether you homeschool, or not. Whether your kids are 3 or 16, volunteering helps kids to look beyond themselves and consider others less fortunate.
In the past we've sang at local rest homes at Christmas, helped to remodel our local pregnancy center, and have made cards for veterans thanking them for their service. Every week my kids volunteer in children's church. And during the school year my daughter volunteers by babysitting for our teen mom support groups.
If you're considering in getting your kids involved with volunteering, here are some ideas that work for me.
Fit the activity with the child. Expose you children to various things then ask them, ‘What would you like to do?’”
Work as a team. Parents can reinforce family values, and kids can share their time and talents, and even acquire new skills.
Be prepared. When preparing for a volunteer activity it’s important to know what to expect. Ask: 1) Where do we need to go? 2) When do we need to be there? 3) Who will we report to? 4) What are we expected to bring? and 5) Why is our role important? Knowing what to expect ahead of time will help children approach their tasks with confidence.
Give feedback. Kids love to know when they’ve done a good job. (And we all like to be rewarded for our efforts.) Talk to your child about the experience. Let her know how it makes you feel to see her acting in such a mature and giving nature. It will be just the thing that will make your child want to go back for more!
Finally, if you don't know where to start, here are a few volunteer activities to consider:
1. Dish up food at a soup kitchen.
2. Walk dogs for the animal shelter.
3. Help an elderly neighbor with yard work.
4. Read to residents of an extended care facility.
5. Deliver library books to homebound patrons.
6. Collect canned goods for the food bank.
Also, I'd love to hear about your volunteering efforts!