Spending time with their families benefits children in myriad ways. Such quality time can strengthen bonds between parents and children, and one study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that frequent family dinners make children less likely to use tobacco, consume alcohol, and use marijuana.
Volunteering is a great way for families to spend time together. Children of various ages can reap the rewards of volunteering, and those rewards may be even more significant when kids give back alongside their parents. Children’s ages and maturity levels should always be considered when looking for a volunteering opportunity. The following are some family-friendly options parents can consider as they look to volunteer with their children.
Participating in a food drive is a great way for families to give back together. Children of all ages can pitch in on a food drive. Parents can take children to the grocery store and let them pick items to donate. Children can also accompany their parents to pick up donated items and drop them off at the local food bank.
Toy drives are popular around the holiday season, and children of all ages may enjoy picking items that they know will help to make the holiday season special for other youngsters. If toy drive organizers don’t request specific items, ask children which toys they would recommend or encourage them to donate lightly-used items they no longer use. Children are enthusiastic givers, and toy drives are a great opportunity to illustrate how good it feels to help those in need.
Human beings are stewards of the environment, so what better way to instill that lesson in children than to volunteer to clean up local parks and the coast? Children will look forward to a day in the great outdoors, and they’ll take pride in knowing they did their part alongside their parents to make their favorite green spaces and the coast cleaner for their communities.
In 2020, Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, cited a study that found 67 percent of food banks were in need of volunteers. Many volunteers, a significant percentage of which are seniors, stopped volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic out of fear of catching the virus. The successful rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for adults and children over 12 has reduced the risk of serious illness from the coronavirus. Though parents must consider various factors before volunteering in the era of COVID-19, fully vaccinated families can work with local food banks to safely offer their time. Such efforts can teach children valuable lessons about the importance of giving back, and many food banks have altered their operations to make it safe for volunteers to lend a helping hand.
Volunteering as a family can strengthen the bonds between children and their parents.