How to Engage Children in Service: Ages 6 to 9
In order to create a more unified community we must start teaching children to serve at younger ages. It has been proven that adults who engaged in service as youth are 66% more likely to engage in service as adults and give more generously to philanthropic organizations than those who had not. Below are some developmental guidelines and service recommendations for children as they begin a lifetime service.
Developmental changes occurring between the ages of 6 - 9 years
Physical development: improved coordination and skill—begin to use adult tools (should be supervised)
Mental development: know right from wrong; better understand cause and effect, increased language skills, increased memory
Social Development: increased social-ability, need for relationships.
Emotional Development: Daring and ready to try new things, taught to cope with difficulties, begins to think of others feelings. Tips: open conversation is essential to emotional development and realization of individualism.
Special Service Qualities: Willingness to learn new things, increased memory and ability to follow directions, increased coordination.
Special needs: Interaction with other people.
Recommended service for this age group:
Projects that increase a child’s coordination, such as participating in an assembly line with small, light materials. (i.e. helping put things in emergency backpacks or survival kits for those in need from other counties—counting tooth brushes and bars of soap aid in math skills and build a child’s self confidence as they feel more needed.)
- Group service projects that require social interaction (1) rest homes (2) visiting the sick, (children this age are very prone to catching sickness, so extra precautions must take place.) (3) Playing with youth who are developmentally disabled. Youth are learning to have feelings and show compassion, this is a great activity for both emotional and individual development. Caution: this activity must be under adult supervision in case of emergency, playing with adults who have disabilities is not recommended.
- Visiting a human society. Shy children may prefer walking dogs, petting or playing with kittens or other animals in need, and feeding the animals. Caution: cleanliness is essential so that children do not catch or pass on sicknesses from other animals. Visit with officials at the shelter prior to exposing children to the animals.
- Draw, color and create pictures used for advertisements for service projects.
- Pick-up trash, collect recyclable materials and take them to a local recycling center. Cleanliness is key here.
Giving and Volunteering in the United States. (2002). Engaging Youth in Lifelong Service. 2 Information Resource Center (1997). Child Development ages 6-9 - What you can expect. Massachusetts: Channing L. Bete Co., Inc.
Reprinted with the permission of Youth Service America. © 1996-2008 Youth Service America. All Rights Reserved.
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