Ana is a single mama to an 8-yr-old son, Javier, who loves to wear costumes 365 days per year. When not exploring her beloved Sunshine State with her family, she's planning date nights with her single dad beau, Mark. The former content director for parenting.com, Ana is now the VP of Content for Today's Mama. She has interviewed a wide range of mamas, from First Lady Michelle Obama to the Kardashians and everything in between.

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5 Ways to Volunteer With Kids

Hoping to add a volunteer project to your family’s activities? If so, this is the perfect time, as Family Volunteer Day takes place on November 23, the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  The Points of Light Foundation created national Family Volunteer day 22 years ago to showcase the benefits of family volunteering and provide opportunities for families to help communities create supportive environments for their children and each other.

todaysmama5waystovolunteerwithkids

“Volunteering is a great way for families to spend time together.  It can benefit a child’s psychological, social and intellectual development and instill a lifetime of generosity,” says Richard Peterson, vice president of education for Kiddie Academy Child Care Learning Centers.  “Children learn from and even mimic their parents’ actions; therefore, a family volunteering project can help to reinforce positive life lessons.”

Kiddie Academy (www.KiddieAcademy.com) offers the following five ways to volunteer with kids. Here’s hoping it brings out your child’s generous spirit during the holidays and throughout the year:

1.      Remind your children that generosity isn’t only about donating money – volunteering your time and talents are a great way to share.  Make hats for local hospitals, visit nursing home residents, or offer to host a reading event at a local library.

2.      Demonstrate that volunteering can be an year round activity.  Along with your child, plan an ongoing volunteering project that benefits a cause that’s close to your hearts.  For example, a monthly visit to an animal rescue center to assist the staff with walking and feeding the pets.

3.      Involve your child in donating outgrown clothes, toys and books to a local charity.  Set up a designated “donate” box in your home, and encourage your child to participate in adding items to the box, and delivering them to the chosen charity each month.

4.      Read books together that highlight the importance of kindness.  The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister and The Lion and the Mouse by Aesop all feature acts of generosity.  Consider adding them to your home library.

5.       To find a family volunteer opportunity in your community, visit the All for Good website.

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