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Why You Should Volunteer With Your Kids When You Travel

family lying on grass

I started volunteering during the summer when I was 11 years old. It started when my dad worked at the Red Cross in Arkansas, and he brought me along to help.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but my mornings teaching adorable five and six year olds to swim set the foundation for my life philosophy and how I would approach people, other cultures, and the world in general.

Since then, I’ve baked cupcakes to raise money for school supplies in Panama, cut fruit to feed monkeys and bears in Bolivia and taught art and photography classes to children in tiny villages in Argentina.

Now, as an adult traveling with my daughter, we do volunteer work together. The experience is enriching and educational, for both my daughter and me, but it’s also a lot more than that. As she works along beside me, it’s a bonding moment between us.

If you’ve ever considered volunteering with your child while traveling, here are some of the reasons why you should volunteer work.

Why Volunteer With Your Child When You Travel?

The whole family in Iceland

I read this interesting article by a woman named Pippa Biddle, who wrote about the problematic nature of volunteering.

Her main point being that unless you have the experience to volunteer, it’s best to stay home.

Obviously, most children don’t have extensive international aid experience. They are more needy than the average adult and are usually less able to control themselves – perhaps leading you to question whether volunteering with children is a good idea.

Some may call it irresponsible to bring a child with you, I do not believe that to be the case.

Of course, we are not talking about medical volunteer work or running into a war zone to care for injured people. There are so many types of volunteer work you can do that has an impact, but doesn’t require specialist training or skills.

Here’s a few good reasons why you should volunteer with your kids on your travels…

1. You will learn amazing things while volunteering

A colorful toucan perched on a tree branch
A toucan at a wildlife refuge

Children are capable of incredible things, and too often adults underestimate what they can do.

Volunteering requires a high degree of maturity, patience and kindness. All of which are qualities children possess and are more than able to further cultivate.

My daughter, Lila, has learned responsibility. She took on the job of feeding birds and not only made sure they ate on time every day but remembered to prepare a special dish for the toucan.

She gained skills…

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