Happy family collecting rubbish

The holidays are here and as your kids gather all of their new toys and fill their toy boxes and closets, it is also a great time to teach your kids to give back. Volunteering with the family not only helps to better the community, but also can give your kids the confidence to want to volunteer more as they get older.

When it comes to getting your kids to help the community, it is fun to think outside of the box. Aside from collecting and donating canned goods, there are tons of ways to get the kids involved in volunteering.

Donate Clothes and Toys

Over 13 million children live in poverty, according to Toys for Tots, which means that millions of children will wake on Christmas morning with no gifts to open and very little to look forward to. One of the best ways to teach your kids how to give back is to help the other children who won’t be visited by Santa this year. Have your child go through their toys and their clothes, picking which ones they would like to give away. Sometimes, when kids are donating toys they might get upset because they just think you are taking their toys away, so have them write a letter to the person you are giving the toys to. Having them write a letter to that child will instantly give your kids a sense of what they are doing and how they are really helping someone else.

Another great way to give back with your kids is to check out an Angel Tree and have your children choose a name. They will get the age of a boy or girl and will enjoy going with you to the store to pick out a present for the child they chose from the Angel Tree. It can give them a sense of how they are helping and who they are helping if they see that little boys and girls just like them don’t have toys.

Volunteer at a Shelter

“Volunteering with your kids touches hearts, teaches important life lessons and engraves fond, lifelong memories of family bonding,” said Leigh Ann Errico, CEO and founder of Wear the Cape and the kidkind foundation. She also added that understanding and participating in activities to benefit the community is crucial to weaving one’s moral fiber.

A great way to volunteer is to give back at a local shelter, like Metropolitan Ministries. There, not only will kids get the chance to see the people they are helping, but they can do everything from participate in a clothing or toy drive to actually serving those in need.

Ask Kids How They Want to Give Back

Your kids may surprise you when it comes to giving back. Instead of telling them what to do, ask them how they think they could help someone. They might surprise you by saying something as simple as handing out bottles of water to the homeless, or they might run into their closets on their own to start picking things to give. If they aren’t sure, give them some examples and let them decide how they want to give back.

If they are able to give back in a way that makes them feel proud and way that they truly connect with, they are more likely to want to go back and volunteer again or donate again. This can lead your child to living a very happy and fulfilled life, all while bettering the community.

Another important thing to remember is that giving back should be a family affair. It is not only children that are going without this season, but teens and adults as well. Anything you can give, whether it is an old pair of jeans or canned food helps.

For more information on where or how to give back, visit TBParenting.com.

by Angela Ardolino of Tampa Bay Parenting, TBParenting.com