Organising a family holiday is increasing in ease, as a result, families are wanting more than just laying on a beach, are looking at volunteering abroad as an alternative holiday option.
Benefits for the family
Volunteering requires team work and communication. Working side by side opens up opportunities for your family to strengthen their bonds.
Work lives are often a mystery to children, they don’t get the chance to see their parents working and likewise for the parents getting to see their children learning. Volunteering lets kids and parents see each other in a different light.
Benefits for the community served
The community benefits enormously from volunteers completing a range of vital services which help with development.
Benefits for the children
‘Outdoor Classroom’ is a term which is thrown around when talking about travelling abroad with kids, because it is true! Children learn from travelling and even more by volunteering. There’s no better way to learn about another culture than embedding yourself in it, socialising with locals and experiencing it all first hand.
Volunteer work has almost become a requirement for college and job applications. Introducing children at a younger age will give them confidence to volunteer again once they’re older, perhaps taking more of a leadership role, as they would have already pushed their comfort zones.
Children can involve themselves in volunteering as much as they want to.
Volunteering on teaching programmes, helping assist the class or sitting in the class and learning with the local children.
Even on building programmes children can help by measuring, mixing and painting.
While volunteering is a feasible and exciting holiday option, many parents are still unsure how to organise a volunteering abroad trip. Here are some helpful tips.
- Be positive!
Children regularly mirror their parents’ emotions, if you aren’t excited about volunteering abroad, why should your children be?
Explain to your kids what your family will be doing abroad and how they will be helping, so that they know what to expect.
- Plan ahead of time!
Typically, when travelling you can go with the flow and plan as you go, unfortunately, it’s not that simple with kids.
Some hotels, hostels and guest houses only accept 18 years old and older. The same goes for volunteering programmes. Check ahead of time who can volunteer and where you are going to be staying.
- Organisations can help!
Volunteering organisations are experienced and can make volunteering easy.
Organisations have advisors and a pre-departure team, who can run through any questions about volunteering. They should also be able to help with flights, visas and organise an airport pick-up. Supported programmes will also offer support whilst volunteering in the form of group leaders and project coordinators. Help X and Teach Away are other popular sites.
- Involve Kids in The Preparation
Kids love to be involved in organising family trips and planning what to do. Prepare arts and craft activities for volunteering and shop for materials to take with you.
- Prepare their Little Legs
Little legs get tired quickly. Check with your volunteering programme how much walking is involved.
Prepare your little ones for longer and more active days by talking them on longer walks at home before you travel.
- Eat In
Ask your volunteer programme or host if your family will have access to a kitchen, this will make eating easier and will also help you save money, as you won’t have the costs of eating out at restaurants.
Eating in doesn’t mean you can’t introduce your little ones to the local cuisine, you could ask at a shop for a local recipe and get the food in.
Introduce your children to the world of opportunities out there, it could be the making of them, your family and the community they help!