Everyone needs to feel needed, and everyone wants to have a place to belong. Because screen time and after-school activities tend to eat up so much of our time in this day and age, the younger generation is less likely to know the satisfaction of a job well done, the thrill of being an active member in a close-knit community, and the joy helping others can bring.Getting your children involved in their community is a great way to help them feel a sense of importance and belonging, and give them some time away from the screen to experience life and the world around them.
There are many ways to get your kids out of the house and contributing to the community. When deciding what kind of community service projects you would like to see your family participate in, consider the talents and interests of your children. If the work is appealing and engaging to them, they will be much more likely to go in with a good attitude and come out feeling accomplished.
Below are a few ways you and your children can help out in your community.
Hold a Drive
By holding a drive, your kids can collect items for those in need. Food, clothes, shoes, and teddy bears are just a few of the many things that could be collected.
Ask local schools if they would be willing to place a collection box in their lobbies, and see if it is possible to send home flyers with the students. Being allowed to speak during a school event would likely work wonders for your collection numbers, and would give the child experience speaking in public. All of these things could also work at churches, libraries, or other places people gather.
For an added bonus, contact your local news station - they may be willing to do a segment on your child's project.
Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen
Children who enjoy cooking and serving food might be interested in volunteering at a local soup kitchen. To make the experience more fun, consider allowing each of your children to bring a friend along and remind them to chat it up with the folks who come through the food line. They may even leave with a few new friends.
Volunteer at a Fundraising Event
Every community has a variety of fundraising events each year. The organizers of these events are always in need of volunteers to help keep things running smoothly. By selling snacks or drinks, helping with set-up or break-down, or offering to perform (if music or dance is your thing) you will get to spend the day at a fun event while helping the community around you.
Plant Trees or Flowers
Many community spaces such as parks are in need of more greenery. Grab a shovel and your kids and start planting trees and flowers to make your community a beautiful place to be. Just be sure to get permission before you begin this project!
Pick Up Litter
One quick and easy way to help keep your spot on Earth clean is to pick up litter whenever you see it. By teaching your little ones to do this, you ensure that a new generation of community members will be committed to keeping their world pretty. To make an even bigger impact, set aside an entire day in which you and your family head to a local park to clean up. This can be a great bonding experience, and the reward is a nice, clean park to enjoy.
Visit a Nursing Home
Many people living in nursing homes rarely have visitors. Help cheer up these lonely folks by visiting on a regular basis. Have your children make and bring cards to share, sing carols around the holidays, bring a book to read together, or just sit and chat. Whatever your family decides to do while you are there, your new friends are sure to appreciate the company.
This is just a small selection of ways you could encourage your kids to contribute to their community. Sit down with your kids, consider all the options, pick one, and head out to make the world a better place.