It’s that time of the year again. The new year is coming! And if you are anything like me you are probably planning in your mind the fresh new habits you are going to start with the kids back in school. But while putting together your 2018 goals don’t forget to add something new to the weekly to-do list with the kids-- giving back.
The most important thing we can do as parents is instill in our children the desire to make the world a better place. Here are five ideas of things you can do with your kids this school year to help out in your community and beyond.
- Volunteer in a Soup Kitchen – Nearly every community has a soup kitchen and they are always in need of help. Not only will volunteering a few times during the summer help your kids learn about giving back to the community but it will also teach them about appreciating the things they have at home. You can visit Volunteer.org to search for volunteer opportunities in your area or contact any local church (who run many local soup kitchens).
- Clean up a Park – Some communities may have sporadic community clean-up days, but you don’t have to wait for one to clean up your nearest neighborhood park. Pack some gloves and garbage bags and the sunblock and head over to a park you know needs a little TLC. These days’ cities are always in need of help in this area. Not only will your kids feel good about doing something for the community, they’ll get to enjoy the clean park themselves.
- Hang out Downtown – Street fairs, Famers Markets and Concerts in the Park and all the other fun summer events often last into the fall. These events held right in your downtown are a great opportunity to not only show your civic spirit, but to help put some money into the local economy. Buy dinner from a local restaurant, a hat from a local vendor, and some fruit from the fruit stand. Making this a regular family habit will not only help root your kids into the community but also help keep your local economy going. You can visit Preservation.org to see if your downtown association is listed and has any volunteer positions posted. Otherwise just visit your cities website for more information on what’s going on in your downtown.
- Plant a Garden – Does your city have a community garden? If so take advantage of it by having you and the kids’ plant some of your favorite fall fruits and vegetables and share with others. Many community gardens allow you to openly share your bounty with others in the area. This creates a cycle of sustainable living that may seem like a small thing, but with more and more people taking part could have a huge impact.
- Raise Some Money – Is your child interested in stand? Maybe you could urge her to choose a cause or charity that means something to her and donate her money instead of keeping it. If it’s a local cause (local zoo or environmental group, women’s shelter, animal shelter, or a specific family or group in need) you can even have her drop off the earnings herself so that she reaps the rewards of doing something good. Here is a step-by-step guide (http://www.parents.com/parenting/money/volunteer/a-lemonade-stand-for-charity/) on how to set up your lemonade stand.
What things do you do with your kids to teach them about giving back? And remember, whatever you do make sure you remind your kids how proud you are of all their hard work and effort.