Tweens: do unto others
Tweens can benefit from serving others in their communities. By taking the focus off themselves, they can develop self-esteem and learn tactics for coping with life’s challenges. They can discover that kindness has its own rewards. How to Inspire Your Tween to Volunteer by Jamie Littlefield (www.volunteerguide.org) gives suggestions on how to help your tween choose a project. Allow them to choose something they like, whether it is animal welfare or health and safety or something else they discover. Have your children utilize their abilities and talents, and clarify the time that will be required. Check out the transportation and adult supervision, and do not pressure your tween.
They can learn how to “assert their independence,” “respect people with differences,” “become more considerate of others,” and “develop communication and leadership skills.” It can help them do well in school and avoid destructive behavior. Some of the projects Littlefield recommends are making pet blankets and toys for animal shelters, promote reading, and send get well cards to children in hospitals.
An article on Nanny Classified (www.nannyclassified.com/blog) is entitled Teaching Children the Importance of Volunteering Activities for Nannies and Children by Abby Nelson. She states that “it is natural to want to raise a child who is focused on others and who has a sense of responsibility to society. Ms. Nelson suggests that nannies can be an example to children. She refers to Dr. Mark Mckee, psychologist who wrote Raising a Successful Child: The Manual. Dr. McKee emphasizes building self-esteem, gaining intrinsic rewards, and building aspirations.
Suggestions for volunteering include donating food, visiting a nursing home, delivering meals to homebound, join a charity walk, collect books, blankets and stuffed animals and donate to hospital or library, and raise money with friends to help refugee kids. There are many opportunities in the Los Angeles area for tween volunteers, especially in Children's Hospital or LAPL (Los Angeles Public Libraries).
Tween Parenting (www.tweenparenting.about.com) by Jennifer O’Donnell has ideas for kids to volunteer. There are many things kids can do at home: take care of younger siblings, make lunches, help parents with chores, care for pets, write a letter to elderly relative, and clean an area of the home.: being
Hospitals and libraries are great places to volunteer. The “reading buddy” program gives kids chance to read to kids at libraries or patients in hospitals (www.bridgettebooth.com). Volunteering gives tweens an opportunity to change others as well as themselves(www.kidshealth.org). Some alternate ideas suggested are: being a Big Brother or Big Sister, help with after-school sports, or the Special Olympics; serve dinner to homeless, distribute toys to kids; volunteer for political campaign; help the environment; join health-related cause;
Be supportive and remember to encourage and not pressure your tween to find the right project, Volunteering can be a life-changing experience.