Parents all around the world want to teach their children core values that they can use to help make the world a better place to live. As a parent, you want to model human decency and morally-correct behavior for your children.
The reality is that people everywhere need kindness and help, especially in these times where the futures are so uncertain. A little bit of kindness here and there goes a long way.
As a parent of a toddler, you sure do have your hands full! However, if you have the heart to serve others and want to volunteer, there are so many opportunities for volunteering with toddlers. You certainly don’t have to wait until your kids are in elementary school to get them into this act of service and kindness.
Volunteering is all about making your community or a community miles away from you a better place. What better way to instill compassion into your children than through helping others?
Importance of Volunteering From a Young Age
Once you get your child to volunteer alongside you, they won’t want to stop. Often, the younger kids start a habit, the better it will stay with them long into adulthood. Toddlers are at the age where they begin to pick up on things from you as the parent. They imitate your actions and words, so you want to ensure that what you’re doing helps their development as a kind human being.
When you immerse your child into a community, they can understand what it means to be part of the larger picture of life. They see different people, gain a wealth of perspectives and learn things like diversity, empathy and compassion.
Human beings need to be in a community with one another. Part of human nature is supporting those around you, so you need to begin showing that to your kids when they are young.
Volunteering Ideas for the Little Ones
Though your toddlers are young, there are still abundant opportunities for them to volunteer. Before you get started, decide whether you want to do a one-time project or if there’s something you want to do repeatedly. Some great places to look for volunteer opportunities are through your community’s volunteer organization, churches or even through social media.
Let your children be involved in the decision of which project to do. Once you’ve chosen one, go through the process so your toddlers know what to expect. Explain that you’re going to help people or the community and why it’s important. Answer any questions they have, and then make it a fun experience for them.
If you need some volunteering ideas to get you started, check out the list below!
- Gather food to donate to the food pantry. When you go to the grocery store, have your toddlers choose a few items to take to the food pantry.
- Visit a nursing home to pair up with a “grandfriend.” Your toddler will love having that extra grandparent who can teach them new skills or play games with them.
- Help cook or serve for a community meal. Bring your toddler alongside of you while you volunteer to serve a meal at a homeless shelter or for a free community dinner.
- Grow a community garden. A lot of suburban and urban communities have a garden where anyone can volunteer. The vegetables you and your toddler help grow will go to those in need.
- Pick up litter. Neighborhoods and wildlife areas seem to be getting filled with trash. Take your little one, get them some gloves and a pick-up tool, and get to work making your surrounding community more beautiful.
- Help a neighbor with some yard work. Sometimes, the people around you need your help the most. Ask neighbors if they need assistance with an outdoor task, like raking leaves, weeding a garden or walking their dog. Your toddler will love helping!
- Donate toys and clothes to a children’s shelter. As your toddler gets older, they probably aren’t using all of their toys and clothes anymore. Ask your toddler if they would like to donate things they don’t use to another child who could use them. Allow your toddler to give those items to the child in need.
- Foster a pet in your home. If you have the room and time for it, you can foster a pet at your house. This will teach your toddler responsibility. They’ll see that they’re helping an animal in need.
- Write notes and draw pictures for your hometown heroes. Your policemen, firefighters and local hospital workers always love receiving messages of encouragement and thanks from their community. Have your toddler draw them a picture to say thanks!
- Set up a lemonade stand and send the profits to a charity. Holding a lemonade stand will be a fun way for your toddler to meet others in the community. All of the money your little one collects can go to a local organization of their choice, too.
There are so many more ways to volunteer with your little one. Find something that interests them and keep volunteering. They’ll learn so much and will have fun interacting with others.
Get Involved in Your Community With Your Kids
Whatever age your children are, whether they’re toddlers or teens, get them involved in your community through volunteering. As a family, make it a point to help others. Your children will learn from you the importance of kindness, and they’ll carry that with them for the rest of their lives.