It is never too early to begin teaching our children about the importance of lending a helping hand. While most community service projects are geared toward older children, there are many ways to get younger children involved in spreading compassion. The benefits are endless.
Letters and Cards
Drawing pictures and writing notes is a great way for young children to spread joy. Send the notes to deployed service members or to a local children’s hospital. Children easily feel empathy toward those who are protecting us and for those who are sick. They take pride in being able to say “thank you” or “feel better”.
Lemonade Stand with a Purpose
Children get so excited about sitting on the corner, selling lemonade to cars driving through the neighborhood. Selecting a charity to donate the earned money to will help motivate sales and make your children feel good about their efforts. Even our youngsters can (begin to) understand the notion of not having enough money to buy food, clothes, or toys for your family.
Clean a Park
How fun is it to put on a pair of gloves and pick up trash at a park? Your children will think so - especially if you let them wear their rubber boots too. This is an easy one to do spontaneously and without much planning. Help your children feel responsible for the public areas they like to play in and recognize the importance of keeping our Earth clean.
Visit a Nursing Home
Our older generations love to receive visitors. Your children can bring pictures, cookies, or sing a song for the elderly. Call ahead so the staff can gather a crowd for you. This can be a weekly adventure or something you do every once in a while. Your children will benefit from the inter-generational relationships that will form.
Invite your children to deliver a glass of water or a popsicle to the mail person or the people who maintain your yard. Everyone appreciates a chance to cool off, and your children will be tickled pink to “make someone’s day”. I don’t know what it is about running down the sidewalk to serve someone water that gets children so excited, but it does!
Instilling the value of giving back and helping those who are less fortunate than us can begin when our children are young. They will grow up looking for random acts of kindness to perform wherever they go, and we will watch them with smiles on our f