Should you pay your kids to volunteer?

Get your tykes to start giving back. Here’s how

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From the September/October 2016 issue of the magazine.

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start volunteering


It breaks all the rules, right? Kids should donate their time out of the goodness of their hearts. But chances are, the first time you force your kids to put in a couple of hours at the food bank, it’s voluntelling not volunteering. Kids should learn that charity begins at home. With young kids, ask them to come with you to do some volunteer work in exchange for something they’d really like—a trip to the ice cream shop or a stop at the dollar store. Volunteering is about values more than money, says Bruce Sellery. “Families need to get very clear on what their values are. From there, they can look at the norms, knowledge and skills that they want to focus on,” he says. It doesn’t stop with little kids either. Sellery suggests paying a teen to volunteer if they can’t find a summer job. They’ll learn marketable skills like customer service, time management and how to report to someone other than a parent. Plus, it will give them something to talk about in their next job interview.

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