by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Do your kids know what it feels like to volunteer? Do they have a helping spirit? If not, it's never too late to get them started. It starts right at home. I've always been a firm believer in helping people. I have to give my mom credit for setting a good example. Now that I have kids of my own, I try my best to teach them how to volunteer and help other people.
Volunteer Often and Bring Them Along
If kids see you volunteering, it will be a good example for paving their way to do the same. When possible you can even bring them along to see what you do. Even if they cannot come along on your particular mission, let them know what you are doing. You can even take pictures when allowed and create a scrapbook for them to illustrate some of your volunteering duties.
Read Books about Volunteering
The local library is a good place to find books on volunteerism. There will be an ample selection to choose from often. Remember that if the particular book you want is not available, most libraries will allow you to request it. If kids see the theme of being a volunteer not only in their own home, but in books as well, it can further solidify the lesson.
Watch Movies and Television Shows that Include Volunteerism
When kids can physically see others getting active and helping out, it can make all the difference. This is true for observing it firsthand. But when it trickles into other things, such as movies and television, it really sends the message. Of course, they shouldn't only watch it on TV, but in combination with other efforts, movies can be an excellent resource.
Donate to Charities
This may seem obvious, but donating to charities can really drive home the spirit of volunteerism in children. As with most things, teaching is about doing. It's true that donating and volunteering are not the same thing. But they are closely related. A giving spirit in general is a huge stepping stone along the road to a love for volunteerism.
Being Kind to Others
In addition to doing things directly related to volunteerism, indirect actions can also be useful. Teach kids to be respectful and helpful toward others. This will lead to a natural love and compassion toward helpfulness. If someone is carrying groceries into the house and needs help, you and the kids can offer to help. Someone may be crossing the street with difficult. Lend a hand. Take every opportunity to help people and teach the kids to do the same. This will inevitably lead to them wanting to volunteer and make a difference in a more official capacity.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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