juneNow that summer has arrived, your children may be looking forward to long, lazy days of no school, no books, and no homework. Relaxing and doing nothing sounds like a great way to spend a summer. Right? But after a few days (or a few hours), kids often come to parents and say those dreaded words, “I’m bored.” What is there for a kid to do after he’s played with ALL of his toys and done all of his chores? Consider a new opportunity for the child who is not yet able to work (and perhaps even those who are). Consider volunteering.


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Volunteering your own time and energy to help someone else has a boomerang effect. You often end up feeling as good as the person you’re helping. Volunteering can boost self-esteem, confidence, and motivation. While the kids have some free time, encourage them to help someone else. There are many things that children, even young ones, can do to help others.
For the older elementary, middle school, and high school child, there are many opportunities, many of them lurking right within the neighborhood. An elementary student could help a neighbor plant a garden and come back weekly to help weed it. Not only would he be helping the neighbor, he’d be learning about plants and how things grow.
For the middle school student, she could offer to feed the family pet or water the house plants while the neighbor was on vacation. The high school student could walk dogs or mow lawns. Reading a book or newspaper to an elderly neighbor would also be a great way to keep up on reading skills, while enjoying some company.


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Even young children can help others. With a parent’s guidance, a young child could walk dogs, water plants, or visit nursing homes. Just the sight of a young child giggling and skipping down the hall can brighten many patients’ days.
Volunteering doesn’t have to be set up ahead of time, though. You and your children can always be on the look-out for ways to help. Perhaps someone needs help carrying their groceries to their car. Maybe, someone dropped a hat or a purse, and your child can retrieve it. Even something as simple as holding a door open for someone can be a great way to show others that you care about them. Instilling the desire to do these simple acts of kindness in our children at a young age will reap great benefits for us all later in life.
So, the next time your child says, “I’m bored,” tell them you’ve got a great idea for them.