In an age of “screen time,” it can be difficult to get your child interested in other things, let alone getting outside and enjoying some fresh air. A great way to break your kid away from a video game or tablet is to sign up for some volunteering opportunities.
Not only will it add a little variety to his or her life, but it can help him or her improve social skills and get a better understanding of community. While you can check out your community events calendar for volunteering opportunities, here are some kid-friendly ideas for volunteering:
Connecting with the Elderly
Many children have little to no daily interactions with older individuals. Choosing an opportunity that allows your child to interact with an elder can help improve social skills and learn about a different generation.
Contact your local nursing home to see if you can “adopt” a man or woman to visit on a regular basis, like a family member. Many nursing home residents have no family or regular visitors. You can also contact your local senior centre to see how you can help with serving meals or helping with holiday events.
Consider helping with other programs like Meals on Wheels or groups that go around the neighbourhood and do yard maintenance (like raking leaves) for older individuals.
Most kids love spending time with animals, but maybe you’ve reached your limit with pets, or your spouse is allergic to animals. Head to your local animal shelter and volunteer to clean kennels, walk dogs, or sit and play with the cats and dogs.
Many shelters are in need of pet toys and dog blankets. Making toys and blankets are a great family activity that everyone can enjoy.
You and your family may lead an eco-friendly lifestyle, but drive around your town, and you will notice a lot of trash littering parks and other nature areas. Getting involved in events, such as an Earth Day cleanup, or simply going around on your own, will remind your child that it’s important to respect nature.
Feeding Others in Your Community
Many kids are fortunate enough to never experience food insecurity. Chances are good that many families in your community are not able to stock their pantries on a regular basis. When you go to the grocery store with your child, have him or her select a few non-perishable items to start a collection that you can later give to your food shelter.
Look for opportunities where you can assist in cooking and serving meals to those who need a meal.
Let Your Child Come Up With A Volunteering Idea
Once you start getting involved in the community, your kids may have some ideas of their own. Maybe they want to visit children at the local hospital or run errands for an older neighbour. Perhaps they want to spend their time at the community garden or donate some of their old, gently used toys.
Whatever they suggest, figure out a way to make the idea work and offer praise for thinking about people in their community.