Getting involved in the community will help bolster a kid’s confidence, self-reliance, and self-esteem. When they can socialize within the community where they feel safe, they take those relationships with them when they’re already adults. Because while there are many things that a kid should see and experience outside their safe cocoon, they should also have a community where they can go home when the waters get too rough. The first step to building a sense of community in your kids is to encourage them to participate in community-building activities intended to improve their social skills and make them a part of something bigger than they are.
The activities they will get involved in don’t need to be grand or have that change-the-world vibe. What it does need is to have an impact on your children. They need to believe in the cause they’re representing and the advocacy they are pushing for.
Join a Local Youth Group
Whether you have toddlers, adolescents, or teenagers, there’s always one local youth group they can be interested in. They can, for example, join the Girl Guides or Girl Scouts. Numerous environmental groups want to teach kids as young as four years old about the value of saving the environment. As early as that age, these groups want to open their eyes to the reality that they might not have a “world” that they’ll wake up to in the future.
Participate in Sports
Sports are the great equalizer. Kids should be able to do sports no matter the financial constraints of the family. They can participate in sporting activities that most communities and neighborhoods organize. A mini bowling event is a common sports activity that everyone in the neighborhood can enjoy. For older teens, they can already coordinate and coach a junior sport. Do your kids have talent in basketball, baseball, soccer, and the like? You never know what you will discover about them unless you let them try these activities.
The great thing about sports is that they can be as committed (or not) as they like. They can practice every day and join competitions. Or, they can choose to do it leisurely. They don’t need to feel the pressure similar to performing well in their academic subjects when it comes to sports. You shouldn’t feel the need to pressure them anyway because this is for leisure and not for career-building (although many professional athletes started their careers at around four or five years old).
Volunteer at Local Festivities
What are the community projects that your neighborhood organizes almost regularly? These are usually park cleanups, music festivals, and farmers’ markets. It takes a group of people to pull these activities successfully. If your kids are old enough to participate in organizing these neighborhood activities, you should encourage them to take part in them.
For music festivals, they can join the marketing and promotions team. Since kids are internet- and social-media-savvy, they can be the ones to market the event on social media. They can create TikTok videos, for example, to reach an exciting new market, which is their age group.
You can also encourage your kids to join counseling groups or youth advisory groups in the community. These groups work with out-of-school youth to help them get back to school or place them in eligible jobs. Some of these groups will also get involved in park cleanups since these will directly impact the neighborhood.
Build on What Your Child Is Already Doing
Now that your children are already involved in community activities, you need to build on that at home and school. Encourage your kids to get involved in school activities, too. They shouldn’t only pour their hearts out in their after-school activities, but more so, they should be passionate about doing these in school. If they play sports in the community, they should play the same sport in school. That will hone their skills and knowledge of the game.
Moreover, that will improve their passion for the activities that they are getting themselves involved in. To better encourage them to share their time in these passion projects, you can also volunteer yourself. This way, you can spend time with your children and learn about them.
Although your kids need to be involved in the community, that should not come at the expense of forcing them to participate in activities that they are not interested in. You also have to value their opinions—what they want to be involved in and how much time they want to spend there. This will tell you about their personalities and how they handle different situations in their lives.