They say charity begins at home. Children who watch their parents getting involved in charitable activities, get inspired to help out the needy, themselves. This is a favourable way of teaching our little ones the importance of giving to others, who are less privileged than us. Children, who are encouraged to volunteer their time in a charitable organisation or donate to a cause, grow up to be caring adults with a sense of well-being.
A study conducted by Indiana University in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation found that both boys and girls were more likely to give to charity if their parents talked to them about it and when children were involved in the charitable activities, as an ongoing process. Many families reach out compassionately during natural disasters and eventualities by donating their time, effort and money, to help those who face misery and devastation. They involve their children in these activities or in handing out the money, so that they learn important lessons in charity.
Here are some interesting activities in which your children can enthusiastically participate, so that she can become a caring citizen of tomorrow --
- Volunteer at an animal shelter － Most cities have animal rehabilitation centres where sick puppies are nursed to health and orphaned ones get a new home through adoption programmes. Many of these organisations have sensitisation workshops for children and may welcome slightly older kids for rescue and rehabilitation efforts. Your children can also make their own efforts to educate people about kindness to animals by distributing pamphlets. If you have a teenager who has a way with dogs, encourage them to offer their services as a dog walker to elderly people in your locality. Check with organisations such as Blue Cross and People for Animals to get more information on helping a homeless puppy.
- Make DIY Greetings Cards － This is a wonderful idea for children to raise money for funding a cause they feel strongly about. Encourage your pre-teen to use her imagination to make cards with pretty drawings and craft ideas. Even groups of children in a class can plan this activity and sell these cards to adults to raise money. Parents can take the children to the charity to donate the money themselves so they learn the importance of a good deed. Children can also be inspired to make cards for terminal cancer patients and gift it to them, to show that they care.
- Donate old toys － Toddlers and preschoolers can be encouraged to donate their old toys with underprivileged children, who have been affected by some catastrophe or give to kids in orphanages. A toy swap with a neighbourhood child is also a good idea for smaller children, to teach them about sharing and caring. If we involve them in the selection and packing of old toys and books that have to be donated, they will also learn the significance of charity.
- Plan a green drive － Children love getting their hands dirty and this is one activity where you can encourage them to do so. Help your child and other little ones in the neighbourhood plan a eco-friendly drive, wherein they can identify a green patch and plant saplings there. Parents can join the children to boost their confidence and motivate them in this endeavour. This activity also teaches your child to respect the environment and to be more informed about conservation efforts going on around the world. Get more information about volunteering for planting drives from organisations such as Treesforfree.org.
- Clean up your neighbourhood － Many voluntary organisations in Indian cities haver regular anti-litter and garbage clean-up drives and children too can help this cause by drawing placards with eco-friendly messages and sensitising their neighbourhood. Accompanied by parents, children can help in picking up plastic and other non-biodegradable waste in your locality. Make sure they wear protective gear to keep the germs, while participating in a clean-up drive.
The younger generation has to learn important lessons in altruism, to make the world a better place. Doing a charitable turn for a needy person, will help them become sensitive and empathetic citizens.
Also read this interesting article on how your child can have fun while helping the planet: