One of the hardest things to teach children these days, especially in an “all-about-me” society, is how to go outside themselves and help others. Even though we’re ever-increasingly connected in many ways, the internet and social media has also contributed to our sometimes feeling isolated and disconnected from others.
Volunteering and reaching out to others in need is important for a child’s development. It can help them appreciate that none of us journeys through life alone and that we are all part of a larger community and world. But, volunteering can all also help children build a number of skill sets and tools as well as provide the opportunity for parents and children to bond as a family.
Below are several additional benefits to having your children volunteer their time to a non-profit or other organization.
Connect with people
Working with people in a volunteer environment is a great way to connect with others. We’re often working alongside people, whether it’s other volunteers or the people served by the non-profit who may be different or have different life experiences from us. Volunteering also allows our children to learn from and about others and build relationships with others, while working toward a common goal.
Develop empathy for others
As our children are exposed to people in different circumstances than they may be accustomed to, it helps them to develop understanding and empathy for others. The more time they spend trying to understand someone else’s situation or learning about the challenges of other people, the more empathetic they’ll become. Kids learn that although others may look different from them and have different life experiences, everyone is still united through many basic and common human experiences.
Broaden community view
Volunteering serves to broaden your child’s view of their own community as well. They have the opportunity to learn more about the issues and challenges in their local area. When kids can see how a particular issue is affecting their own neighborhood, they are more likely to develop the passion and commitment to continue to support the efforts to make people’s lives better in that community.
Learn new skillsets
If you and your family decide to participate in an organization like Habitat for Humanity or another project that builds and repairs houses for others, your child will learn basic building and repair skills. But volunteering is more than learning hard skills. It’s also about learning communication, organizational, and effective leadership skills.
Understand that they can make a difference
One of the greatest benefits a child takes away from a volunteer experience is the fact that they realize can make a difference. Children can see the immediate impact their volunteering does to improve the conditions or lives of those they’ve worked with.
Volunteering can be an extremely rewarding and character-building experience for all children. Talk with your children about causes or things that interest them and then reach out to local organizations to see how you can all get involved. The experience can not only be personally rewarding but can also help children develop a life-long appreciation for how each of us can help others and make the world a better place. Check out our list of activity ideas! https://www.superheroesclubbooks.com/blog/summer-activities-get-kids-involved