Cultivating community interest and a sense that “we are in it together” in our children enhances their moral development and broadens their perspective, encouraging them to think beyond themselves. Teaching social responsibility begins with modeling. You don’t teach your children who you want them to be…you teach them who you are. Start early!
- Model sharing. When grocery shopping, help children pick out items to purchase that will be contributed to a food drive. Older children can be given a dollar amount to spend on these items, learning budgeting skills as well.
- Grow and share. If your family has a garden, give your child a small section of their own. Tending a garden takes patience and responsibility. At harvest time consider sharing some produce with a local food pantry.
- Make an offering of what you don’t need. Have your children sort through toys and clothes, picking out items they no longer play with and have outgrown to give to a charity.
- Help at the holidays. As a family, volunteer at a food bank, “adopt” an elderly person at a nursing home to spend time with, or adopt a family through the Salvation Army or another non-profit. Bake good to share with neighbors. Encourage your children to participate and/ or to make cards or gifts.
- Help out on your street. Make time to sit and enjoy a cup of tea with an older neighbor, have your children take an elderly neighbor’s trash bins to the street, or help him or her with garden tasks.
- Research and donate. One family did a family cleanup for 2 hours every weekend and “paid themselves” $25 each week. The monies went on a ledger and they had quite a sum by the end of the year. They put aside $100 for a fun family activity and on the day after Thanksgiving, the children researched and selected non-profit organizations to which they gave the rest.
- Reflect and celebrate together. After the holiday season is over, have each member of your family share which gift was the one they could hardly wait to give.