By now, you’ve probably gotten the whole homeschooling/remote learning/working from home thing down. And while it might not be easy, you’ve most likely found a way to make it somewhat work for your family. That’s why now is the time to turn your efforts towards helping your community. And these 10 ways kids can help others during the pandemic will make everyone feel good.
Turn on the TV, and it feels like it’s all doom and gloom. So if you were thinking about instilling some philanthropic inspiration in your kids, there’s no better time to start than today. “Helping others makes kids (and adults) feel more connected during this time of isolation, which benefits mental health and well-being,” says Dr. Donna Housman, a clinical child psychologist and founder of the Boston-based Housman Institute. “Even though we’re all experiencing difficult emotions and anxieties, it’s critical in times like these to remember to leave room for positivity and the spreading of joy and community.”
But if you thought that doing good was just something for your child to do, think again. “Parents can and should participate in these kinds of activities too,” says Dr. Housman. “Modeling ethical behavior by doing things like looking after neighbors and older relatives, practicing social distancing, and making the sacrifices that are necessary to deal with COVID-19 teaches kids about compassion and empathy.”
So if you’re looking for ways kids can help others during the pandemic, these 10 are a good place to start.
Prepare A Meal
For many people, having a home-cooked meal is a luxury. So if you want to spend some quality time with your kiddo (and do good for your community, too), you can cook up a meal for someone in need. It might be an elderly neighbor who can’t get out as easily, or someone who is immuno-compromised and needs to stay at home. Place it in a basket and include a recipe card and extra ingredients so that the person getting the meal can make it for themselves at another time.
Make A Mask
Sure, a medical mask might do the job, but if social distancing is here to stay (at least, for awhile), you might want something prettier to put on your face. Since masks are fairly easy to make (the CDC has guidelines on how to make them), you can take out some fabric and fashion some masks for neighbors, or even distribute them to people in need.
Thanking all of the essential and front line workers for their daily sacrifice can become a cute craft project for your and your child to do. Grab some markers and crayons, stickers, whatever you have on hand (and if you’re a risk taker, glitter), and craft a big thank you poster for all of those people who put others before themselves, such as healthcare workers, delivery people, and even those who work in the supermarkets to ensure that we have access to fresh food on a daily basis.
Start A Fundraiser
With the unemployment rate hovering around 14.7% as of this writing, there are many people who are struggling to make ends meet. If you know of anyone who could use a helping hand right now, you can create a fundraiser for that person. Have your child help you write an inspirational story about that person and why assisting them now is the right thing to do.
Make Your Neighborhood Beautiful
Just because you’re staying inside doesn’t mean that your outdoors can’t look awesome. In fact, you can make your neighborhood look beautiful and spread some joy at the same time. Score some sidewalk chalk and create a beautiful mural (or just some happy rainbows) on your sidewalk or driveway. You might even want to write “thank you” on your driveway to let delivery drivers know you’re grateful for everything that they do.
Grow A Garden
You can get some fresh air—and make your neighbor feel great—by helping to plant a garden. Find out what florals they like (and which ones they don’t) and start by making a small garden of herbs, and veggies that they can use for cooking later on. And flowers are always a fantastic way to make a garden look gorgeous—and make your neighbor happy, too.
Organize A Birthday Parade
Let’s face it: having a birthday during the quarantine stinks. But that shouldn’t stop the celebrations. If your child’s friend is having a birthday soon, organize a birthday parade. Assign a time for everyone to meet, and make sure that everyone decks out their cars with signs and balloons. Then, drive together to the birthday kid’s house, and start honking those horns! The birthday child will be so happy that so many people showed up for their birthday, and believe it or not, it’s a lot of fun to participate in!
Help Clean The House
While cleaning your home might not necessarily qualify as helping others, the benefits of it can definitely help your community. Clothing that is no longer worn can be donated to those in need, and extra food can be brought to food pantries, where it will be distributed to neighbors or other food banks. So start doing some serious spring cleaning and donate when the option is available.
Set Up A Scavenger Hunt
With more people taking walks outside, now is a great time to set up a scavenger hunt. You can place teddy bears in your window for kids to find, or set up some painted rocks and a sign for how many kids can expect to find. It can be a great way to engage the community and build a sense of bonding while everyone is at home.
Adopt A Senior
Senior citizens are by far one of the most at-risk parts of the population when it comes to the pandemic. And as such, they face isolation in both nursing homes (and in their own homes) due to social distancing. So if there is a senior on your block who could use a little company, why not write a card or letter to them? You could also have your child draw a picture and send it to a nursing home. You never know — a beautiful friendship could begin based on the sweet idea of being pen pals.
There are many ways kids can help others during the pandemic that will affect not just their neighbors as well as the community. And in doing so, you might be surprised to find that it’s you and your family who benefit the most from the wonderful feelings that stem from doing good for others.