How to teach children the value of volunteering

11.21.16 family volunteer2.jpgAs a parent or grandparent, you’re leading the next generation by example. They’re watching you, whether you realize it or not. Volunteering together is a great way to instill positive service habits into the lives of your children and grandchildren.

Most likely you serve because you want to make a difference in the lives of others. Perhaps someone gave the gift of service to you, and you want to give back. Maybe you recognize a need and want to fill the gap.

Serving others as a family has many benefits. Time spent together volunteering can open doors to valuable teachable moments, family memories, and traditions. Many families serve dinners at shelters during Thanksgiving as part of a tradition that spans generations.

As you explore the right volunteer opportunities for your family, consider the following:

  1. Make sure the program or organization you serve is aligned with your own family values.
  2. Discover what motivates, encourages, and inspires each family member and then choose something everyone can all be excited about.
  3. Make memories. Take pictures that tell the story of how you shared this experience and what made it important to each family member.
  4. Listen while you work. What are you learning? What are your children/grandchildren learning? Make a mental note and talk about these points when time allows.
  5. Learn together. Share with your children/grandchildren what you learned during this experience. Let your experiences build ideas and help you plan for new service projects in the future.
  6. Celebrate your accomplishments as a family, and thank each one for doing their part.
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