With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is the season to be thankful. It is a time for all of us to reflect on our many blessings and to be grateful for all we have in life.
So how do you teach gratitude to your children? Why not try exposing them to volunteering at an early age. This can instill a feeling of appreciation for all they have while helping others. In addition to gratitude, volunteering teaches compassion, caring, empathy and tolerance.
Volunteering in your community doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. Even a few times a year can engage you and your family in a world that you didn’t know existed.
You can deliver meals, plant flowers at your church or synagogue, or work cleaning kennels at your local animal shelter.
Here are some tips to help embark on family volunteering opportunities:
Discuss Where to Help: What charities or organizations do your family have a connection to? What new community would you and your children want to be exposed to?
Time Commitment: Discuss how much time a month or a year you want to volunteer. Will you volunteer only at holiday times or is this a year-round commitment?
What are Your Expectations: Talk about why the job you will be doing is important.
How will it impact your family and the greater community?
Talk to Friends: See what others are doing. What works for their family? What opportunities are family-friendly?
If you can’t find easily find opportunities that fit your needs, you may also want to consider online search services like Chicago Cares (Chicagocares.org) to help match you and your children with the right organization.
Above all have fun. This can be a tremendous bonding experience for your family that reaps rewards for your children as well as your community.