Community service, advocacy for others and participating in fundraising activities can assist children learn the values of care and compassion, in addition to instilling a lifelong sense of moral and social responsibility.
Through our partnerships with schools, children gain an understanding of social justice, respect, fairness and the value of collaboration and teamwork.
How can you develop these values in your child?
You can start when children are toddlers by modelling these values yourself and building confidence and competence in others. Donate to a worthy cause, or organise an event to fundraise or volunteer your time. Children absorb values watching what is important to you.
As your child matures and begins school, talk to him or her about important issues in the community and decide together what you can do to help. Perhaps this could be by organising a stall, donating some pocket money, or including a child with special needs in a play date. These activities all provide opportunities to discuss issues such as diversity and disadvantage.
Being inclusive of people who are different and modelling tolerance and understanding for others is important for your child to witness in their early years. Decide at critical points through the year how you might give to others in need.
As children mature, with your encouragement, they can take on more responsibility for their own giving.
You can discuss strategies for appropriate giving such as donating a proportion of pocket money, volunteering or conducting advocacy activities for others in need in the community.
These activities could include writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper, contacting a member of parliament, organising friends to conduct a fundraising event or even by organising an event to model inclusion to their friends and the general community.
Children respond well to feedback and examples of how they have made a difference. It is vital that children receive this feedback and contact to reinforce the effects that their actions have had on others.
We encourage kids to send ‘Messages of Care’ for all of our projects. These take the form of heartfelt messages and artwork from our supporting schools and families to ensure the less fortunate know that they care and are sending them hope.
These messages are then shared with those in need by our services staff.
To help young children learn more about the importance of giving and saving, have them set up three jars to contribute their pocket money to. One each for spending, saving and giving, and get your child to distribute their pocket money across the three. It’s an easy and fun way to help them learn some simple financial lessons.
You could also ask your child to pick a charity that means something to them, and suggest they donate a portion of their pocket money each week. They will make a connection with the charity and feel proud of their donation.
Most children relate to the basic needs for health, food and shelter. In addition, home is very important to them in the early years.
Homelessness is an issue which you can begin to explore with your child to help them learn more about disadvantage and how they can make a difference. Cut articles out of the newspaper to discuss and decide what you might like to do together.
You could begin by supporting related services or UnitingCare West’s Winter and Christmas Appeals, or simply make a small regular donation to UnitingCare West.
Have a look at the Resources page to get some ideas!
Click here to make a donation.
Search our services