Thursday, October 7, 2010

How do you teach social values?

I just read an interesting post on Everything Mom questioning about when and how to introduce your children to volunteering and what I would call being a good citizen.

I have wondered the same thing myself, especially when our days are so busy that it is so hard to find the time to volunteer myself - makes setting a good example a bit difficult.

Of course, I believe that setting a good example is best way to communicate any value to your children. When Little Mr. Man was a bit younger we did an activity in a local church. They had a food drop off box there and I would try and pick something up at the grocery store and drop it in the box, all the while talking to him about it and explaining why were doing it. Not sure if any of it stuck, but I suppose there was no harm in trying.

Since we just did a huge move we had a lot of trips to goodwill. Again, I would try and bring him and his sister along and explain what we were doing and why. Again, not sure what stuck, but I hope that through exposure both children will get a better sense of the world around them and learn how they can help make a difference.

My next attempt to instill this knowledge in them will be to ask them to give up a few toys before each Christmas and Birthday and donate it to a charity. I may wait until they're around five though so they can have a better understanding of what is going on.

These are just some ways I can think of getting the kids directly involved in the community and learning about being a good citizen.


  1. I love the idea of picking a few toys to give to charity. We try to do one big family charity event a year. We've done the Crop Walk or volunteered at the intake center for Caritas. And we try to do everyday things like why we drop off clothing or food as you mentioned.

    I do think that we are first and foremost living examples of what to do (or not do). BUT I think trying to take little kids (mine are four and 18 mos) to major charity events evenly monthly isn't realistic right now. ANd being cranky at a charity even isn't exactly going to cause anything to stick that's good!

    PS. I came over here after reading your comment on Scary Mommy's guest post. I agreed so much with you!

  2. Thanks! bringing kids to events is a great idea, but I agree - cranky kids and any event probably not the best idea ;-)
    Thanks for your comment re: the Scary Mommy post

  3. My close friend does a charity thing with her daughter once every six months. It's very hands on and they spend the whole day there which means they spend time togther *and* do some good. I know twice a year doesn't seem like much but, something is something.