Volunteering can have an incredible impact on your physical and mental health, relieving stress, boosting self-esteem, increasing the immune system, and even helping you live longer. But there are other benefits as well. Research has shown that completing volunteer work can make you happier overall. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of volunteering with your kids.
Does Volunteering Make You Happier?
A U.K.study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that people who volunteered were more satisfied with their lives versus those who didn’t volunteer. What’s more, the frequency of volunteering equated with more satisfaction. Those who reported volunteering at least once a month experienced better mental health benefits. In other words, the more you volunteer, the happier you are.
So why does working as a volunteer make you feel happy? Experts say that volunteering is intrinsically rewarding; in other words, it’s naturally satisfying. Volunteer work can also help boost a sense of social connection to others in your community.
There is biological evidence that volunteering equates with happiness as well. Studies using MRIs have shown stimulation of the mesolimbic pathway – or reward center of the brain in subjects who gave to charity.
Why Volunteer As a Family?
It can often feel like you don’t have enough time or energy to volunteer as a parent, but there are many ways you can get involved with a volunteer organization with your whole family. Volunteering with kids not only allows you to have time to give back, but it’s also an invaluable lesson in compassion and kindness and the importance of giving back. Teaching kindness isn’t always easy, especially with younger kids. Volunteering provides a hands-on approach, often allowing kids to see the benefit of their contribution first-hand.
In addition to being a teachable moment, volunteering as a family is an excellent bonding experience guaranteed to create lasting and, of course, happy memories.
The Benefits of Volunteering with Kids
You’ll Make New Friends:
When you volunteer, you become part of a community, which is essential in life. You’ll meet other families with similar interests or goals as yours and potentially make friends for life.
Your Kids Will Gain Real-World Experience:
As volunteers, you’ll experience different viewpoints. Working with and helping people from other socio-economic conditions than your own can be eye-opening for kids. You might also be exposed to new experiences, like planting trees, that you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to do at home.
You Might Gain New Skills:
Community service can teach you many new things. Many people volunteer to gain new skills, like social skills, public speaking, computer knowledge, and even leadership skills.
You’ll Increase Self-Confidence:
Volunteering helps you boost your self-confidence because it gives the feeling of success from helping others and making an impact on your community.
Where Can We Volunteer?
Many organizations in your area will welcome you with open arms. To find a volunteer opportunity, look for nonprofit organizations in your community working on causes you feel passionate about. Ideas include animal shelters and rescue organizations, food banks, churches, and homeless shelters. Once you find a cause you’re interested in, find out if they allow kids to volunteer and in what capacity.
There are also many volunteer opportunities you can complete at home, and even some ways you can volunteer while you’re on vacation. The possibilities are endless when it comes to finding something that’s meaningful to you or where you can help make a difference.
Have you ever volunteered as a family? Share your experiences with us on our Local Anchor Facebook group.