Are you practicing social distancing? Trying to keep your children entertained while they’re unexpectedly at home for a while? We’ve rounded up 10+ ways children can help others without having to physically be in contact with other people.
We’ve decided while we have this unexpected time at home to figure out things we can do each day to brighten someone else’s day. Children can help others, they’re good at it, so why not let them especially now?
We know being stuck at home can be hard, we’re so lucky because we’re a larger family…built in entertainment for everyone. Not everyone is that lucky and we don’t want to make light of it. We came up with this list of ways children can help others to hopefully help inspire you to look for ways you can help others.
While this list of ideas is specific for social distancing they can easily be continued even after the schools and parks are filled again. If you have other ways children can help others that we’ve missed we’d love for you to tell us them in the comments so we can add them to our list. We can’t think of anything better than a list filled with ideas we can all look back on over and over again to be inspired to reach out to others.
Why is it important for children to help others?
As I was thinking about the things I wanted my children to do during our time out of our normal routine finding ways to help others was at the top of my list. Why? Because I think service is good for the soul. Children can help others, it doesn’t matter if they’re 2 or 18 there is something they can do for someone else and if you give them the chance you will see them light up and don’t be surprised if they ask for more and more opportunities to do something for someone else.
Let’s get to the list!
10+ ways children can help others.
1. Make a card for someone in a nursing home.
Right now it’s so important for our elderly communities to stay away from everyone they can. This means no visitors at nursing homes which can easily lead to depression and just overall sadness. You don’t have to know someone specific to send a card or two to a nursing home, just put them in the mail with or drop them off with a little instruction to give them to someone who needs a pick me up and they will take care of it for you.
2. Don’t forget about the elderly in your own families.
Jump on Facetime, Marco Polo, or even just the phone and call your grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc and talk. If you’re not sure how to start a conversation that will last longer than “How are you doing?” use this time to ask them about their childhood, things they remember from when they were in school. Our grandparents love sharing these stories and we love hearing them. This is a great time to record these stories so you don’t lose them.
3. Send cards or other happy mail to children’s hospitals.
Just like the nursing homes there are strict rules in place right now for anyone entering children’s hospitals. These little fighters deserve anything that might cheer them up. They may be used to having extra family/friend support that they don’t have right now and it may be confusing to them. Sending something other than “get well soon” notes is a good idea. Funny jokes, smiley faces, and just general happy mail is a great idea!
4. Help care for animals.
There are likely a lot of people in your area that for their safety need to stay inside and away from everything/everyone they can. Via phone calls, emails, or text check on these neighbors and see if they need help caring for their animals. This may mean walking dogs or if you live in a more rural area like we do even feeding/watering farm animals.
5. Send cards/care packages to our military men and women.
Our military men and women are likely very stressed about being away from their friends and family during this time. They deserve all our gratitude at any time but especially in times like this when their sacrifice takes them away from their families.
6. Share favorite stories to other children via social media.
A lot of parents are getting a crash course in home schooling right about now and are probably scrambling to keep their children entertained. Let your kids grab their favorite book and a phone or computer to call their cousins or maybe even children they babysit for and read them a story. My cute Lila had an assignment recently to read to someone younger than her. She called Paula’s younger kids and read them a story over Facetime and it was so cute. She had a lot of fun doing it and they loved listening to one of her favorite stories.
7. Go through clothes/toys/books to donate to others.
This is the perfect time for spring cleaning. Set aside a little time each day to go through closets and totes to find things that no longer fit or are no longer something you want/need. This is probably not the best time to actually donate them but you can take advantage of this time to gather your items, tie them up in plastic bags, and have them ready as soon as it’s safe to be out and about.
8. Make welcome back gifts.
If your kids are anything like mine they’re already looking forward to being back with their friends again. What better way to focus on the positive than to help them focus on that day in the future. Bookmarks, friendship bracelets, little cards, etc. are all things they can work on a little at a time while they’re home.
9. Write to their teachers.
Our teachers have had their whole worlds flipped upside down with this change. They love our children and are now sitting in quite classrooms doing everything they can to teach them everything they were planning on teaching them with very limited contact. Send them notes or even little videos from their students to let them know how much they’re missed and appreciated.
10. Help with yard work/snow removal.
Another thing you can do to help those around you is to help with yard work. That could include mowing laws, shoveling snow, pulling weeds, anything really to help lighten the load of someone how either needs to stay inside or has a lot extra on their plate right now.
11. Send thank you cards to your local service people.
Doctors, Nurses, Librarians, Police, Fire Fighters, etc. They all have added stress on them right now trying to help keep us safe. This is a great time to teach your children about the different things these people do for us and help them write thank you cards.
12. Work on Family History.
While you have time together this is a fun time to work on family history. You could work on your ancestors or while you’ve got your family together work on documenting your own history. Talk back over past vacations, holidays, trips and document what everyone remembers.
13. Don’t forget your friends.
In the beginning you’ll probably be in regular contact with your friends but as time goes on and everyone is just hanging out a home without a lot to talk about you could find yourself going longer and longer between chats. Stay in touch, keep checking on each other. Everyone’s situations at home are going to be different and some could be lonely. You don’t need to talk every day and you don’t need to pry, just let your friends know you’re there for them and be aware of how they may be feeling.
When we first talked to our children about social distancing some of them took it hard. Not because they were worried about themselves but because they had a friend they were worried about, that might be lonely, might have a less than idea home life, etc. Don’t ignore your children’s concerns, help them find ways to help their friends while also following the rules you set for your own family during this time.
Our children are good and they want to do good things. Take advantage of this time with them and show them that you know children can help others and that service is good and can even be fun. I can’t wait to hear all the stories of children helping others and how we’re all changed for the better because of this extra time with our families.
If you have other ideas for how children can help others please tell us in the comments and we’ll continue to update our list. Thank you so much for reading and helping your children serve!