Making the decision to have children is one that comes with careful deliberation. You want to make sure that you are at a place in your own life where you feel stable and ready to make the necessary sacrifices that come with starting a family.
But perhaps one of the most difficult decisions that comes with having children is working with your partner to decide how you want to raise your kids, starting from the time they are born until they become responsible and capable adults.
As a parent, you want to instill thoughtfulness and selflessness into your children. Exposing your children to community outreach, whether it be through donating money or volunteering time, is one of the best ways to show your children a life that is different from their own. This exposure to new perspectives is what will plant the awareness of how differently other people live that will inspire the action that is necessary to make a difference within the community.
If you want your children to be involved in the community, here are some strategies to encourage their engagement so that they will take as much from the experience as possible:
Allow them to choose what cause to support.
Due to the nature of giving, it is important that you are choosing a cause that is both personal and voluntary. While you may be currently supporting a charity or organization of your own choosing, it’s important not to give that as the only option for your children. If you want them to be excited about donating money or volunteering their time, they need to be as invested in the cause as you are to yours. Talk with your children about their options and be open-minded to the causes that are meaningful to them.
Make it fun.
The more involved your children feel in the giving process, the more connected they will be to the cause. Many parents start their children off with more engaging activities like collecting items to donate to a person in need. For example, Operation Christmas Child is a fun project that occurs around the holidays where individuals purchase items for children whose families don’t have the financial means to splurge on gifts. These items are encouraged to be a mix of both essential items (toothpaste, shampoo, clothing) and toys. Shopping for these presents can be a gratifying experience for the entire family.
Go on a trip.
Every now and then, there are opportunities that arise where families can sign up for a volunteer trip. The length and financial commitment of these trips is dependent upon the needs of the organization, but an extended trip with your family is not only a great way to bond with other families that value philanthropy, it also has the potential to make the most significant impact on the community.