meplus3today: If you regularly read my blog, you will probably know that I am passionate about making a difference in the world. I love to do acts of kindness and help others. I understand that it is partially due to my personality, but I also believe that it is a value that can be taught. So, I plan to pass my passion for helping others on to my kids. I want to teach them that no matter how old they are, they still have the ability to make a difference!
I am teaching them this in a variety of ways, too many for just one blog post. So I am going to start out by sharing 5 methods that I am using. I hope you will take these ideas and implement them in your family too!
5 Ways to Teach Kids that They Can Make a Difference
1) Start Young
The girls aren’t even 3 yet, and my son is about 19-months old. It may seem like they are a little too young to understand this concept. And that might be true, I’m not really sure. But I believe that if they are raised from the beginning with the idea that they can make a difference at any age, it will become as natural as breathing for them.
I actually really started being more intentional about this just before the girls turned 2, and my son was about 8 months old. I had them coloring supper sacks for a local organization that distributes dinners to children who qualify for the free lunch program during the school day. Ever since then, I am constantly thinking of ways to get them involved in service projects.
If you think more about it, you are never too young to make a difference for someone. Just think of the feelings and emotions a newborn baby brings on. That little one is likely warming the hearts of anyone he/she comes in contact with!
2) Lead by Example
What better way to teach your child than to actually display the desired behavior yourself. You are your child’s number one teacher! And believe it or not, they are watching you. I think kids are like sponges, and they soak up every little detail, whether you notice it or not.
So if they see you doing something to make a difference, no matter how insignificant it might seem, they will likely start to imitate that behavior.
Plus, isn’t it a little hypocritical to want your child to do something, when you don’t even do it yourself? It shouldn’t be a “Do as I say, not as I do” type of thing. Instead, have a “Watch what I do, and you can do it too” attitude!
3) Use Books to Illustrate Encourage and Motivate
Another great way to teach children that they can make a difference is by reading books with that type of theme. It is a fun and simple way to get an important message to them.
The new “I Can Change the World” personalized books from I See Me! is a great example of a book that would encourage and motivate your kids. With phrases like “You have the power each day when you awake to make our world better with the choices you make,” and “Start out really simple and show us your smile. It gets passed to each person from mile to mile!” it shows just how easy it is for even the youngest child to make a difference.
The “I Can Change the World” personalized book also makes a personal connection to children, as they see their photo on the dedication page and their name on the cover and throughout the book. It will make them feel as if the book is speaking directly to them, helping the message resonate even more!
Not only is the book itself a great resource to teach kids that they can make a difference, but it’s produced by a company that gives back. I See Me! has started the #ShareYourSmile campaign to give kids a chance to affect change just by sharing a smile. They have also supported the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project by donating $5000! So choosing this book could also be a great way to “lead by example” as I talked about in #2 above.
4)Start within the Family
One of the best places to start encouraging kids to make a difference is within your family. And I’m sure there are plenty of opportunities to help within your home.
For example, explain to them how picking up their toys or taking out the trash makes a difference to you. It might make you happier and allow you more time to do other fun activities with them. It also makes a difference in your homes appearance, which could make it a more relaxed environment for the family. I’m sure you can think of plenty of other reasons why certain tasks would make a difference within your home. They may not always understand or abide by what you say, but it’s a great place to start!
5) Show Examples of What Other Kids are Doing
Showing your children what other kids are doing in the world isn’t about comparison or making them feel bad. It’s about showing them that kids truly CAN of making a difference.
It might also help them understand that if kids out there are doing these newsworthy projects, then they are obviously capable to do just a small act to make a difference. Additionally, it could encourage them, or provide ideas that they might want to try.
There are so many benefits for teaching kids that they can make a difference. It could help build their self-esteem and confidence. They will get exposure to a variety of learning experiences. The values of kindness and helping others is important in all aspects of their lives as they grow into adults. And of course, all of the wonderful things they do to will make a big impact even greater than just themselves!
I hope you found these ideas helpful and are able to use them and adapt them for your children! I can’t wait to hear how it’s going!