If you haven’t ever thought of volunteering with your grandchild, you might want to consider it! There are many benefits to spending time with your grandchildren and many benefits to volunteering, so you can expect volunteering with a grandchild to be extra rewarding! Not only can it be a lot of fun, but volunteering with a grandchild also strengthens the bonds that tie, builds wonderful memories, and fosters spiritual growth for both you and your grandchild.
Time With Your Grandchildren is Good For Your Health
Whether you have a dozen grandchildren or just one or two, spending quality time with them can be good for your health—from keeping your memory sharp to keeping you physically active.
Especially for those living alone or who are less mobile, time spent with grandchildren can help keep loneliness at bay. Many of the positives that come from spending time with your grandchildren overlap with the benefits one experiences through volunteerism. The sense of helping others for the greater good can be especially meaningful and spiritually uplifting when experienced with someone dear to you, like a grandchild.
A Special Grandparent-Grandchild Bond
Grandparents come with the insight of having already raised their own children. They are generally more aware of how quickly children grow up and how precious time spent with them is. With the discipline and raising left to the parents, grandchildren appreciate the special, unassuming, and carefree one-on-one time their grandparents are able to give them.
What Kids Gain From Volunteering
Youth who engage in volunteer work learn the ability to look past themselves and see the need to help others. They learn compassion, generosity, and selflessness. Volunteering can teach them real world skills, such as how to communicate effectively, how to get along with others different from themselves, and how to form positive relationships. It also teaches them real-world responsibility and helps grow their self-esteem.
Finding Volunteer Opportunities That Fit
Here are some helpful ideas and suggestions for finding a fitting volunteer opportunity for you and your grandchild:
Talents and Skills
Maybe you have a knack for writing and your grandchild is good at taking pictures. Or maybe the two of you like animals and have experience caring for them. Possibly one of you has a great voice and the other is a talented piano player. It could be that you're both crafty and creative. Perhaps you both have a zany sense of humor and like to tell great jokes or stories. Inventorying your skills can be helpful to bring awareness to what you have to offer.
What are your interests and passions? Maybe the two of you would like to help the homeless in your area, have a soft spot for animals and want to volunteer at an animal rescue, enjoy nature and want to help improve water quality, or are both into history and would like to volunteer at a museum. Could be that you both have always wanted to learn magic tricks and would like to perform at care centers.
Thinking Outside the Box
It can be helpful to think outside the box in terms of how you can help out in your community and beyond. Volunteering can look like lots of different things and doesn’t necessarily have to be tied to a specific organization or mission. Here are some examples:
-Organize a garage sale fundraiser and donate proceeds to a non-profit.
-You could pick up litter at a different park every week.
-Each month you could choose a new charity, find out what’s on their wish list, shop for some of the items, then deliver them.
-You could create flyers with photos and descriptions of pets in need of adoption and place them around town.
-If one of you is tech savvy, you could offer to help spruce up or build a website for a local organization.
-You could use your musical talents or comedic abilities to put on entertaining shows for local care facilities.
-You could make handmade greeting cards, then mail them to troops overseas or to a veterans care home, thanking them for their service.
Volunteering in the Time of COVID
Everyone has differing levels of comfort when it comes to COVID and how they feel about going out and about. If you or your grandchild are uncomfortable being around others, you can work together to come up with ways you can still help, while staying within your comfort zone.
Whatever volunteer endeavor you and your grandchild decide upon, what’s important is that the two of you find it enjoyable, rewarding, and of course, something you both look forward to doing together.