Volunteering has been shown to have a significant impact on both mental and physical health. The act contributes to overall wellbeing and even longevity. What is true for adults is also true for children, perhaps even more so. Volunteering can help instill a sense of civic engagement in children and gives them a sense of empowerment to change the world for the better. Perhaps more than anything, however, volunteering can help instill a sense of gratitude in children the same way it can in adults. Getting children to volunteer, however, can be somewhat of a challenge. Here are three ways to help encourage your children to volunteer.
Find Something They’re Passionate About
You may be highly passionate about helping the homeless or visiting the elderly, but that does not mean your children will be. In fact, they may even be somewhat put off by the very type of volunteering you are most passionate about. While you can certainly encourage your children to broaden their horizons, you might have an uphill battle on your hands. Instead, try finding them a volunteer opportunity in an area they are already naturally inclined towards. You might find them getting excited about the opportunity rather than fighting you.
Find Opportunities That Are a Good Fit
While you may be a social butterfly that loves working with a wide range of people, your bookworm child may prefer solitary endeavors or opportunities with a single friend. You may also be surprised at what kind of opportunities they take to and which ones they do not. Sometimes, the volunteer opportunity they connect with isn’t as much about what they are doing as how they are doing it.
Try Several Different Things
Some children may prefer one-time options such as collecting books for a library or clothing for the homeless. Other children may prefer opportunities that allow them to build deep connections. Some children will be very independent and may blossom by volunteering on their own, while others will only enjoy it if it is something they get to do with you or with the family. If you want to encourage your children to make volunteering a lifelong practice, you might want to invest the time in finding something they truly find value in doing.