Things to Know when Volunteering with Children

It’s great when kids volunteer to do some community service with you to help out. They can see for themselves how much of a difference they can make when they act, and as they grow to be adults they can become better members of the community. Volunteering with children is great because they can be so energetic—but if you can’t harness that energy properly they may become disruptive instead.

So what should you do? The key is to direct that restless energy into really productive pursuits. Here are some ways in which children can really help: 

1.  Read to sick children in a hospital. The first way your kids can help here is by letting them pick the story to read to the children. Many kids have their own favorite stories, and they can be very enthusiastic in sharing these tales with other kids. Parents can read to the sick children while their kid is beside them, perhaps turning the pages with you or interacting with the other kids.


2.  Decorating gift packages for sick children. Kids like to receive gifts, but your children can also know the joy of giving by helping you with the gift packages you can send to sick children at the hospital. They can decorate the box containing the gifts with colorful drawings and cutouts. They can also pick the items inside, such as inexpensive toys, puzzle games, and books. Perhaps they can pick the snacks inside too.

It’s best if you can bring your kid along when you give the gifts, so your children can see how the sick kids’ eyes light up when they get the packages.


3.  Visiting senior citizens. Many nursing homes have older people who miss out on having their grandkids along. So you can help provide some joy in older people by bringing along your kids when you do volunteer work at a nursing home.

Kids may like to talk to older folks, especially those with fascinating stories to tell about their youths. Sometimes even talk isn’t necessary, as some adults simply like having kids around as they do their puzzle games and coloring books. Seniors and kids can also work together, such as on jigsaw puzzles or model airplanes.


4.  Caring for abandoned pups and kittens. Children can be very emphatic, and many naturally melt at the sight of pups and kittens. You may find some local charity that takes care of abandoned pets, and the younger pets can really suit children. Just make sure that your kids don’t interact with the older dogs as they may be dangerous. Also, you may want to anticipate a request to have a pet of your own!

So call your local volunteer center and ask around for any volunteer work where your kids can participate in. Once you’ve picked where you’re going, show enthusiasm for the project as your kids will pick up on what you’re really feeling. Answer their questions, and let them know why what you’re doing is important. Volunteering with children is good not just for the people you help, but it’s also good for your kids as well!

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