Raising little humans is a big responsibility. We want our children to be strong, brave, and above all, kind. In a world that’s become less private, it’s easy to get caught up in the judgments of others and of ourselves. Teaching our kids to remain kind, charitable and empathetic shows them that through kindness, we find connection.
Giving back to those in need is a valuable way for kids to learn about the commonalities we share as human beings and the intrinsic worth of all people. Kindness transcends fear, judgment and exclusion. It brings us together, it keeps us humble and it reminds us what’s important. Kindness, my friends, is the new cool.
Here are 15 ways your kids can give back and feel good doing it.
Teach kids to raise money
1. Have a 50/50 birthday party
A 50/50 party offers your child an important opportunity to help others. Instead of gifts, party guests bring a small, set amount of money, and the birthday boy or girl spends half on a gift and donates the other half to charity.
2. Participate in a fun run and raise money for a good cause
Raising money and joining in a run for charity is worthwhile and tons of fun. Your child will feel empowered as they learn to fundraise and enjoy the accomplishment of a group run with friends. Visit runguides.com/vancouver for a schedule of upcoming Vancouver area runs.
3. Hold a car wash, lemonade stand or bake sale and donate proceeds to charity
Have your kids create signs, decide on pricing, and hold a money-making event like a carwash. Their hard work will pay off when they are able to offer a portion of their proceeds to charity, as well as drop a few dollars in their piggy banks.
Teach kids to give their time
4. Plan or participate in a community clean up
Community clean-ups in local parks or recreational areas are common these days. Have your kids plan one in your neighbourhood, or join one as a family to help keep our beautiful city sparkling. Visit vancouver.ca for information on neighbourhood cleanups.
5. Pick up garbage wherever you go
We teach our kids not to litter and how to recycle and compost, but encouraging them to safely pick up bits of litter whenever they’re out and about teaches them that our public spaces are everyone’s responsibility.
6. Read to younger kids at the library
The Vancouver Public Library offers a great opportunity for teens to give back by pairing them with younger children in grades 2-4 to help them engage with books and develop their reading skills. Visit vpl.ca for more information.
7. Volunteer at local community events
Vancouver communities are always in need of volunteers. Encouraging your kids to help out is a great way for them to connect with others and to help those in need. Kids can volunteer independently or you can help as a family. Visit volunteeringvancouver.ca, or vancouver.ca for opportunities in your area.
Teach kids to donate
8. Donate old toys, books & clothes
Offering up some gently used items is an easy way for your kids to make a difference and a really good way to get rid of some clutter.
9. Donate a portion of allowance to charity
Teaching your kids about the value of money is an important step in their future financial success. If you give your kids an allowance, have them keep a portion for savings, a portion for spending, and a portion for charity.
10. Host a give back party
Throw a party, together with your family, and ask your guests to bring an item or small amount of money to donate instead of a hosting gift. Afterward, you and your kids can deliver the donations together.
11. Donate scarves, socks or warm clothes to a local homeless shelter.
Wintertime is particularly difficult for the homeless. Have your kids collect warm clothing from friends and neighbours and deliver them to a homeless shelter or community collection box to provide warmth and comfort for those in need.
Teach kids to be charitable
12. Make treats or pictures for your local firefighters or police people
Teaching respect and admiration for those who serve and protect our communities is an important lesson for kids. Stop by your local police or fire department with some goodies or crafts. Your kids can meet some local heroes, and get a fun tour of the stations while there.
13. Welcome new members to the community
Taking the time to meet new neighbours is a great way to role-model kindness. Have your kids drop off some baking or another small gift as a gesture of kindness and a welcoming treat.
14. Help out seniors
Appreciating seniors and offering assistance as they age is a powerful way to teach your children compassion. Have your kids assist an older neighbour with chores, or visit a local nursing home to offer a senior some company.
15. Foster an animal from the Vancouver SPCA
Fostering an animal provides your kids experience in pet care while providing a caring service for animals awaiting a permanent home. Visit the SPCA website at spca.bc.ca for more information on fostering in your community.
Teaching our kids compassion, empathy and a love of community will help shape who they become as adults. By helping others, we teach our kids they can make a difference with even small, simple gestures – and feel good doing it. So, role model kindness and teach your children the true meaning of cool.