Teaching our children the importance of community service is a value that is shared among many parents and academics. Studies show that introducing children to volunteering can help foster empathy, build self-esteem, and teach social responsibility.
As an individual and a parent, wanting to do more for my community is important – and teaching this to my children is even more so. However, life is hectic. Just getting my children ready for school while trying to get ready for work can be overwhelming – not to mention the chaos that ensues at 5:00pm when frantically rushing to pick-up my children after school, prepare dinner then help my children tackle homework. How in the world do parents find time teach children about community service, and/or volunteering?
One idea is to simply work community service actions into our daily activities. Last month, Rain of Hope shared a suggestion from Parents.com about a simple way to involve your children in donating to your local food pantry.
Here’s another to add to your list: Read a FREE book online with your child, and help another child gain access to books!
Every time a book is read online at First Book, a book is given to others. Created by the Penguin Group and Pearson Foundation, First Book is a FREE online library that donates books to organizations such as Harlems’ Children Zone, Books for Asia, Hope for Haiti, and Moving Windmills Projects – to name a few.
The set-up process takes only a few minutes (less than 5 minutes!):
Go to First Book and create a FREE online account.
Next, click “Read” from the top of the page, to select a FREE book to read online
Take off reading with your family!
Not only have you shared valuable time with your child, another child receives a free book! To help ensure your child understands how this activity helps others, We Give Books site even suggests some helpful hints to make this effort more meaningful to you and your child(ren):
Explain how a child can help people by his or her actions;
Speak about volunteering;
Talk to your child about how his or her actions make other people feel;
Discuss goals, encourage opinions, and tell children how proud you are of them; and
Explain the importance of giving to others.
We know that reading to our children is an important part of literacy. Now, showing your children the importance of community service can be as simple as reading a book online with your child!
Finding the time to teach children the value of community service is challenging – Rain of Hope helps identify ways that community service can be intertwined with our daily activities.
We all have the power to make a difference. Coming together, we will succeed!