Whether you’re 45 or 4, there’s no better time to get involved than right now. Even little kids can make big differences to any number of local or global issues that inspire them. Here are five ways—big and small—to get your kids on the right side of social change.
Write a letter or email
If and when your little one sees injustice, do not miss the moment to teach them that doing something is infinitely better than doing nothing. One of the best ways to introduce kids to the concept of government and social change is as simple as grabbing a pencil (or in 2019, your phone to catch them on social media) to write a letter or email to your elected official. And a letter/email/tweet back (which is likely) will prove that even children have voices to be heard.
Teach them to shop smarter
As tempting as it is to load up on cheap plastic from the dollar store, kids will see a more-is-more mentality that puts quantity over quality. Put your money where your mouth is and show them how you shop—be it for clothes, toys or baby gear—with careful consideration to their non-price-tag cost to humans and the environment. Choose wisely, first of all, or better yet, choose products that donate a portion of sales directly to a cause that matters, like the Munchkin Wild Love Miracle Cup 360° that draws awareness to at-risk species and purchases contribute to conservation efforts, like the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Fundraise for organizations
To do more for causes that inspire them, kids can help directly by hosting a fundraising event and collect donations. Once upon a time, this was mostly a lemonade or bake sale, but while tasty treats never go out of style, new ideas abound: Trivia nights, karaoke competitions or backyard pizza parties are all kid-pleasers. For the latter, partner up with a local pizza shop for donations, sell slices by the dollar and donate the proceeds.
Take them to march
Brave the crowds and take your kids to see you—and thousands upon thousands of others—marching for what matters. Kids are almost always welcome, even if you only last an hour. Make sure to talk lots in advance about where you’re going and why. Pack comfy shoes, warm clothes, earplugs just in case and more snacks than you think they could possibly eat.
Model better behaviour
If you really want to foster a little activist, you’ll have to do much more than recycling and turning off lights (which of course you’re already doing). The best thing you can do is let them watch you do good, be it picking up litter or handing money to a homeless person, volunteering in your community or writing a cheque to a charity that needs it. Little eyes will watch and do what you do, and soon you’ll notice you’re growing empathy rather than apathy in kids of all ages.