Teaching your kids to become involved in their community is rewarding, both emotionally and physically. It not only helps to build character but benefits the organization you choose to aid. Social responsibility doesn’t happen over night though, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your whole family is making the most of the time and energy they have to give.
In our house, animal welfare is an important cause and for a while, I was actively working with a dog rescue. I had many duties that included fostering puppies, transportation, and fundraising. At first, my kids weren’t overly interested, but once they started to learn more about why these puppies were coming into the rescue and what happens to the staggering number of homeless pets, they were more than happy to be a part of the solution and even offered their own suggestions on how to help. This prompted many more discussions about issues facing our community, and the people around us, and even led them to tackle their own good deeds.
Lead by example
The concept that children learn by example in not a facade. The more good they see, the more they will want to get on board. Choose something that is important to you, and do what you can to help. Stand up for what you believe in and show them that no one person is too small to make a difference.
This step will vary by age, obviously, but talk to them about issues going on in the world and your community. Explain to them what different causes entail, and what kinds of things they can do to help. Keep it simple and try to expose them to issues that will hit home for them. For example, working with an animal rescue came naturally for my kids as we’ve always been involved pet owners.
Give them choice
After an age-appropriate talk about the different difficulties others face, there are sure to be a few issues that resonate with your child more than others. Let them lead the conversation and aid them in brainstorming ways to help their chosen cause. Giving them choice will ignite passion and ensure they’re putting in a solid effort.
Show them results
Help to continuously motivate your kids by showing them the results of their hard work. Remind them that what they are doing IS making a difference. This may be easier with some causes versus others, but if you can find a way to relay that their good deeds are causing ripples of change, it will encourage them to continue!
Does your family have a cause they feel strongly about? Tell us about it in the comments!