Volunteering doesn’t have to be as hard as pulling teeth. In fact, it doesn’t even have to take much of your time. But the time you do give as a family will be time well spent as you are not only working toward bettering the classroom, but also spending valuable time with your children as you get involved in the community. Here are a few tips on how you can make time to show your little ones the importance of volunteering:
1. Choose what best suits your schedule.
There are two types of volunteering: informal and structured. If you want to establish a routine volunteering routine that will be less likely to be pushed aside when other responsibilities arise, then structured volunteering is probably the option for you! These are volunteer opportunities you sign up for with your children at the beginning of the school year, scheduling a monthly date to perform services like visiting the classroom to help with reading time, preparing learning center materials to bring in at home, or even helping in the school garden. Informal volunteering, on the other hand, is a good way to find opportunities that best fit your schedule. Tasks can be as simple as scheduling a fundraiser or taking your child to clean up the park. Whatever type of service you choose to perform, know you are putting core values (empathy, responsibility, stewardship) on display for your children through taking action. Hopefully, they will learn to follow suit.
2. Follow your passion.
It’s always easier to launch head first into something you are passionate about. Notice a large number of stray cats in your neighborhood and want to do something about it? Start a fundraiser or campaign for either bringing awareness to the importance of spaying and neutering pets or ways for the community to more easily get involved in the adoption process. Notice a school system is in need of new reading material? Start gathering donations to fuel children’s love of reading. Whatever it is you are passionate about, there is always a way to make a difference, even if it’s through starting a grassroots organization. If you do decide to start an organization, here are a few tips:
- Ask yourself if launching a new organization is necessary.
- Create a mission statement.
- Decide on specific goals and projects.
- Attract members.
- Arrange a meeting space and time.
- Establish organizational hierarchy and a decision-making process.
- Decide on a budget and funding sources.
- Generate publicity for your organization and its goals.
- Have fun!
Keep those steps in mind and you and your children will be well on your way to creating a successful grassroots organization!
3. Prepare your kids.
It’s important for children to understand the implications of volunteering. You can prepare them for what you’ve signed up for by:
- Describing what will happen.
- Showing enthusiasm for what you’re about to do.
- Becoming educated about your position. (Find out the required time, behavior expectations and the importance of the job so you can share it with your children.)
- Explain the benefits of the position.
The more excited you are and the more details you have about the volunteering position will make the idea even more appealing to children.
-For even more great ways to get your family involved with volunteering while operating on a tight schedule, check out The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering.
-If you have any ideas for time management and how to make room for volunteering with the family, feel free to share with us by commenting below or tweeting us @KaplanToys with the hashtag #volunteering.