Volunteering with your Child: 7 Ways to Give Back

Little girl holding a cardboard sign that says thank you

Little girl holding a cardboard sign that says thank youOne of the best ways you can spend quality time with someone is by volunteering your time and service. Teach your children the importance of giving back and set up a way that you can volunteer together. Since the holidays are approaching, maybe you can serve at a local soup kitchen, or donate warm clothes to a local homeless shelter. I guarantee it’s a date that neither of you will ever forget. With Thanksgiving around the corner this is the perfect time to give back and show gratitude for all we have. One of the best ways to show appreciation is by doing service for others. Here is a list of some easy but meaningful acts of service to show gratitude this month:

1. Write thank you notes. This is a little time consuming but means so much to those who receive it. My kids love to get thank you cards in the mail after they send gifts to cousins who live far away. Writing them also gives us a chance to reflect on the love and appreciation we have for a specific person and remember how much they mean to us.

2. Help a stranger. At least once throughout my day I come across someone who could use a little help at the grocery store, gas station, or park. We have put elderly peoples carts away for them, let someone with cranky kids ahead of us in line, and played with those at the park who were alone. It is never anything that disrupts our day but always leaves us with happy feelings after.

3. Share your talents. I do not consider myself to be very talented but I love being on the receiving end of others gifts. Especially, this time of year there are many places looking for volunteers for musical talents and such. Share your gift!

4. Donate to a charity. It doesn’t have to be a large sum to be meaningful. One of my kids saved up her money for a week and donated $5 to a local homeless shelter. It was a tiny donation but a great reminder of all we have. Also, donate items around your house that you no longer need such as clothes, shoes, blankets, etc.

5. Volunteer. Spending time at a local food bank, animal shelter, crisis center, or even the health and welfare services office can give us great perspective into the lives of those less fortunate.

6. Visit a hospital or home for the elderly. This can be a lonely time of year for those in assisted living and hospitals. Giving up a little bit of time during the week to visit with and entertain these individuals will brighten their day and help us appreciate our families more. And in the end, you might be surprised they are really the ones making the difference in your day!

7. Smile and say thank you. This one is by far the easiest and takes no time at all. With all the shopping and activities going on this time of year there are endless opportunities to offer those who serve us a smile and a thank you.

Do your best, be sincere, but most importantly show gratitude as a family!

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