How to Volunteer With Children

by Ivy B
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As part of your parenting regimen, do you hope to instill a greater sense of community involvement in your children?  In this guest post, Astrid Halliday is sharing tips about how and why to volunteer with children near home and even while on travel.

Volunteering is often identified as something for young adults, going off on their gap years before university. Nonetheless, the number of families volunteering with young children reaping the rewards of volunteering together is increasing.

Progressively more families are choosing to schedule family time away from the screens and distractions of everyday life, instead opting to contribute to their communities. Charities and organisations are also responding flexibly, recognizing that people of all ages, from toddlers to retirees, have lots to offer. Yes, even toddlers are now volunteering!

Introducing volunteering as a hobby at a young age not only teaches the importance of helping others, it teaches compassion, tolerance, gratitude and community responsibility.

volunteer with children; poor happy children

How to Volunteer With Children

Build It Up As Fun

Many parents feel that getting their children to volunteer, away from computer games and out in the real world, is near impossible. A great way of getting children excited about volunteering is by approaching it with the idea that it will be the most fun your kids have ever had! If they believe that what they’re doing will be amazing, it’ll be easier to get them on board.

woman sitting with a child

Incorporate Your Children’s Interests

Explore your children’s interests and try to volunteer within a familiar environment.  Naturally this will help engage your child. For example: if they are interested in animals or keep pestering you for their own pet, find a local animal shelter looking for extra hands.

Make It Routine

Schedule volunteering and make it part of your weekly routine. It comes as no surprise to parents that children are happiest with routine in their lives, rather than sporadically announcing that they’re going to help at a charity.

man and child at the beach

Cheap or Free

Volunteering as a family doesn’t need to be expensive. It doesn’t cost to volunteer locally and is a great free way to keep the kids busy on the weekends, rather than paying to go to the cinema or shopping in town.

Children may gain even more from volunteering abroad learning from the culture, working alongside their parents as peers, making new friends amongst local children and learning a new language.

young boy with map

Many volunteer organisations welcome family groups, they can also help you with choosing the most suitable project and every aspect of your trip preparation, right up to travel.

Resources to Help Start Volunteering With Children

Useful websites for sourcing volunteering:

  • WWOOF (World Wide of Organic Farming), many host families have children themselves and welcome volunteers to bring their children to socialise.
  • Original Volunteers, I have volunteered with this organisation many times, when I wan in Ghana with them there was a family (a mother and her 7 and 11 year old sons) they were all getting involved, the two sons helped me paint a classroom. 
  • HelpStay, A database full of independent volunteering options, you can filter out any option which don’t accept families to make searching easier. 
  • Washington Trails Association, perfect for families wishing to stay in the US, learn and experience life outdoors.
  • Volunteer South America, a list of different volunteering opportunities in South America.

Projects typically love having volunteers from a mixture of all ages, but it is worth checking when you make your initial enquiry.

It is not just projects and charities who benefit from volunteers. Families bond and communication is improved when helping together as a team. Encouraging children to volunteer at any age looks great on college applications and resumes for the future. Parents can also gain, whether volunteering abroad or locally, it can be nice to step out of your comfort zone, into an unfamiliar environment which can help free the mind from the usual work/life stressors.

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How to volunteer with children. Tips parents should use when getting kids involved in volunteer service projects | sahmplus.com

Guest Author Bio

Astrid Halliday guest author How to Volunteer With Children, headshotAstrid Halliday is a keen traveler and an aspiring writer. She wants to share her passion of travelling the world in a meaningful way with others. 

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11 comments

Abby December 23, 2018 - 7:44 pm

After a really long time, I have come across an article that I really find very interesting. I always believed that in order to teach a child something good, you should show and not preach. Same goes with compassion. I have done my fair share of volunteering over the years and it has changed me a lot personally, mostly in good ways. It certainly made me more compassionate. Starting with it at a young age will only make your kid more aware and he/she will start appreciating the things that are at their disposal, that many kids can’t even dream of having. And, apart from that, especially for today’s parents, it will be a nice way to get their kids out of the house and to make them more social.
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Tim Yaotome January 15, 2019 - 12:57 am

I wanted to help my kids learn more about the real world while they are still young. When I read your tip about convincing them about how volunteering is fun for them to join in, it gave me a great idea. I will ask whether they can participate in local opportunities to lend a hand. With that in mind, what kind of activities can a parent choose for their children where they can help out?

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Ivy B January 15, 2019 - 1:58 pm

It totally depends on the age and maturity of your children. Plus, some volunteer services may have age restrictions.
As a pre-teen, my mother would take me and my little brother to visit elderly people in nursing homes so she could just offer conversation. I distinctly remember they enjoyed having kids around and I see it when I take my own children to visit my grandmother in her assisted living facility.
You could have your children cook and deliver food to friends/family in need or donate toys, books, games, and clothing to children’s homes. Do you have any elderly or disabled neighbors that could use some yard maintenance?
I even knew a family that would make up little kits with hygienic supplies for homeless people.
There’s so many ways children can get involved in their community and likely not have to think too far out of the box.

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Sarah January 23, 2019 - 5:48 am

The parents must be volunteer with their children sometimes. It is really a healthy activity that should be carry on.
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Learnerships January 23, 2019 - 5:50 am

I would like to say something about the Volunteer work. I have done many volunteer jobs and works with my mates in the office. Its really a good and wonderful activity.
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priyadarshini April 17, 2019 - 12:52 am

The topic Incorporate your children interest I like most. Beautiful.

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Ro April 25, 2019 - 7:29 am

Nice article

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Jean Carol May 10, 2019 - 8:08 am

I would like to say something about the Volunteer work. I have done many Charity and volunteer jobs and works with my mates in the office. It’s really a good and wonderful activity.
Jean Carol recently posted…4 Life Lessons We Can Learn from VolunteeringMy Profile

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Maria May 17, 2019 - 6:07 am

Your view on ethnically volunteering is great. Going to pin this article, feel other can get benefits too.
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office furniture in chennai May 31, 2019 - 1:13 am

Thanks for sharing

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Ben June 6, 2019 - 10:58 pm

Love this idea and trying to start to use it. Our kids are getting old enough to understand more about volunteering and will begin to enjoy it more. Such an important life lesson to share with kiddos. Thanks for sharing this.

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