Leading by example for our kids can be a challenging feat. That means you too have to eat your vegetables, turn off the T.V. and go outside, keep your room picked up, and get plenty of sleep. Easier said than done.
If your kids are less than enthused to give up their cartoon-watching time to give back, it’s time to lead by example. You should never expect your kids to do something that you yourself don’t do. So, scoot scoot. Go out there and help the world.
If you’re stumped as to what volunteer opportunities are available for the kiddos this summer, we’ve got a few suggestions. Give them a few options and see which one piques their interest the most.
For Young Kids:
Keep it simple. They’re attention span is about 15 minutes on the generous end of the spectrum. Do one of the small, kind gestures below to show them how good it feels to help others.
- Bake cookies and take them to a homeless shelter
- Draw a picture or make a few cards and take them to a retirement home
- Go play with some puppies or cute critters at an animal shelter
- Have a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to a charity of their choice
For Middle School Tweens:
Despite what they may tell you, they can handle one-two hours of volunteer work, no sweat. But find an opportunity that gives them instant gratification—seeing their results or being thanked is a tangible reward for them giving up their time.
- Have them serve food at local homeless shelter
- Volunteer them as entertainment for a retirement home (Put those guitar or clarinet lessons to good use!)
- Go visit a children’s refuge center and bring board games to play with the kids staying there
- Have a charity car wash or bake sale with a few other friends
For High Schoolers:
While you shouldn’t have to initiate them giving back to their community, sometimes they could use a little encouragement (if appeal on college applications isn’t wooing them). Offer up a few ideas and suggest that they go with friends to make it a fun social activity.
- Coach a little league sports team
- Volunteer at a camp for the summer
- Tutor younger kids at their old middle school or elementary school
- Clean up a park, beach, highway, school, or other area of town
Use these ideas to get the ball rolling and if your kids come up with a better idea, go for it. Just be prepared to give up some of your own time to get them started and make them feel comfortable. The reward in showing your kids the value of giving back is immeasurable, trust us. And there’s no better time to start than this week.