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Volunteering Teaches Kids Important Lessons

​It's a well-known fact that one person can make a difference. Even simple acts of kindness can improve the lives of others, including our kids, in ways you may never have considered.

Volunteering has been shown to increase empathy and compassion in kids, and helps them to find a sense of purpose by contributing to something greater than themselves. Helping others also brings a sense of accomplishment and helps to raise a child's self-esteem and feelings of pride.

Even our small actions of help and service can impact our society and improve our world. That's why it is so valuable for parents to encourage their kids to volunteer their time and talents to help others. Volunteering inspires gratitude and a sense of fulfillment and is linked to feelings of happiness and sense of well-being. It turns out that there is truth in the adage that it is “better to give than to receive."

Volunteering helps kids to develop important life skills like being able to express their needs and use negotiation skills. Working with others to accomplish a common goal builds connections. These connections happen when people come together and the focus is not on themselves, but on something much bigger.

Here are some ideas on how to get your children of all ages involved in giving back:

  • Volunteer by helping at a local non-profit organization or charity event.
  • Raise funds for charity by operating a lemonade stand, collect coats and toys for a homeless shelter, visit a nursing home, or encourage your kids to consider asking for food donations in lieu of birthday gifts, and then deliver them to a local food pantry.
  • Offer support to others by participating in a neighborhood clean-up or disaster relief effort, or delivering blankets to the homeless on a frigid winter night.

As parents, there are many ways we can encourage our children and support them in their own acts of kindness, including:

  • Being a role model by volunteering your time and taking your kids with you.
  • Getting involved by supporting various fundraising events in your community.
  • Researching ways you can help locally, nationally and globally.

Make it a point to jump-start your children's and family's commitment to giving back as even small contributions matter and the benefits are endless.

Child Development;Family Pediatrics