Small Helping Hands Can Have a Big Impact
Many parents in today’s world find it more important than ever to raise compassionate children. But some may find it difficult to know where to begin. Dr. Gloria Julius, vice president of education for Primrose Schools, suggests parents introduce volunteerism at an early age.
“Giving back is especially top-of-mind around the holidays, so this is a good time to start a year-round habit with your young children,” said Dr. Julius. “Volunteering plays an important role in the development of character. It teaches children that they can do things that positively impact the world around them. Even young children can learn to become active participants in their communities.”
Here are four key steps for parents to teach their children the value of volunteering in a meaningful way:
- Clarify your personal goals and motives for wanting to include your child in volunteer activities. Volunteering is a wonderful way to a share your values with your child. Pick a cause that is meaningful to you and your family rather than one that is simply convenient.
- Explain the importance of volunteerism and the contribution volunteers can make. A child’s favorite question is “why?” Keep your answers simple and concrete.
- Choose volunteer activities to do with your children that are age-appropriate. Children as young as 3 can begin volunteering. At this age they begin to enjoy participation in group activities and are better able to follow directions. Remember that a preschooler’s concept of the world is not very large and is usually limited primarily to their home, neighborhood and school; therefore, it is important to keep the activity within the realm of what they can imagine.
- Find a child-friendly not-for-profit. Ask the following questions to help you select the volunteer opportunity that is right for your family: Does the organization have experience with and a history of successfully working with children and families? Will the organization staff welcome my child’s participation? Is there a specific job that my child can do successfully? Can the organization provide a concrete example that will help your child understand how his or her efforts benefit others?
Ultimately, we know a compassionate child is more likely to grow to become a compassionate adult. Volunteering is a positive way to encourage this behavior by getting your child involved in your community at an early age. So with these steps in mind, sit down with your family and make a plan to lend a helping hand.
To learn more about Primrose School of Pleasanton, visit www.PrimrosePleasanton.com, or call 925-600-7746