While Thanksgiving is a season for giving, for children it ends up being a season for receiving only as many lose sight of the fact that the Holidays is also a time for appreciating what you have and about the priceless gifts of family and togetherness that have no price tag.
Thanksgiving can also be a wonderful opportunity to nurture a spirit of giving to others as well.
A recent Nanny Classifieds post explains the benefits of volunteering, and notes how lending “a hand to someone in need can heighten your child’s sense of self-esteem and self-worth while also providing an opportunity to possibly discover new career options on which to build aspirations.”
In it, there are 15 examples of volunteer activities that children can engage in this Holiday season and beyond to help them appreciate all they have and receive in their lives.
- Collect children’s books from family and friends and donate them to a local hospital or library
- Sign up for a charity walk to benefit an organization or disease awareness
- Donate food to a food pantry by having your child pick out an item each time you shop for groceries
- Volunteer to serve meals to the homeless at a local shelter or food pantry
- Compile activity boxes, complete with puzzles, coloring books and games, to donate to a children’s center or children’s hospital
- Donate a few hours to picking up litter at local parks or roadways
- Visit a nursing home and offer to share your talents through musical entertainment or story time
- Deliver meals to the homebound (many food pantries offer these services)
- Take the kids along as you volunteer to drive an elderly neighbor to the doctor or grocery store
- Volunteer to feed, walk and care for abandoned animals at the local animal shelter
- Gather several classmates and friends to raise awareness and money to help refugee kids in schools around the world
- Recruit the entire family to tutor, mentor or read with younger children
- Work with the local Red Cross agency to give blood or organize a community blood drive
- Make cards, blankets and stuffed animals for sick children and donate to a local organization who provides care items to hospitals and children’s centers
- There are unlimited options for volunteering, both locally and nationally, that you can take advantage of to show children how acts of kindness can significantly impact someone else’s life. Find even more opportunities and learn how to brainstorm and plan family volunteer trips with the PBS Family Guide to Volunteering.
It is recommended to designate a specific day each week for volunteer activities.
“Having children volunteer helps them to get out of themselves,” New Hampshire clinical psychologist Carl Hindy says. “It teaches them social interest, empathy and awareness of others.”