PARENTS

How To Spark Your Child's Interest In Social Issues

23/01/2015 14:52 | Updated 20 May 2015

Spark your child's interest in social issues and help them find the hero within

What makes a true superhero?

Extraordinary powers? The quest to fight evil? The courage to defend the underdog? Or maybe it's simply the choice to use your strengths and talents for good.

Encouraging your children to use their unique gifts to help others teaches them compassion and responsibility, and gives them the opportunity to develop their leadership skills.

It also creates a strong sense of purpose. As they create positive change, they'll see how their talents can help to build a better world.

What does your child love to do? If she has a green thumb, she could try volunteering at a community garden. If he's a bookworm, he could tutor young children who are just learning to read. Find the activity that excites your child and you'll help them find their superhero power.

A Hero in Action

Spark your child's interest in social issues and help them find the hero within

Ryanvir Singh, 15, knows that his gift is helping other young people build their confidence.

When his best friend was bullied three years ago, Ryanvir was deeply affected and decided to launch an anti-bullying initiative called The Big Stop Campaign.

"My friend was quite depressed," Ryanvir says. "I wanted to help him and other young people."

The campaign has since blossomed into a charity that helps victims of bullying through mentorship, counselling and creative activities that boost self-esteem.

"There were quite a few struggles setting up the charity," Ryanvir says, referring to those who didn't think the campaign would make a difference. "But I just don't give up."

When Ryanvir heard about We Day - a stadium-sized event that brings together world-renowned speakers and performers to celebrate the actions of tens of thousands of young leaders - he was motivated to organise his own mini We Day in his community in Leicester.

"The whole concept behind it was so inspiring that I wanted more young people to see it," Ryanvir says.

The event he put together centred on bullying prevention and drew a crowd of over 350 young people who cared about the issue.

When asked what his special power would be if he were a superhero, Ryanvir says: "It would be that everyone I speak to would become an activist for human rights."

Here are some useful tips to help children discover their unique gifts and the issues that inspire them to action:

1. Be a role model.

Children may be more affected by what you do than what you say. Set a positive example and spend the day volunteering as a family.

2. Read or watch the news together - and talk about it.

Understanding topics discussed in the news will inspire children to find the issue that's most important to them.

3. Use social media.

A Facebook post or tweet about a pressing issue could pique your child's interest. Help them use social media tools to raise awareness about the causes that matter to them.

Want more tips for raising socially conscious children? As an international charity and educational partner with a 19-year history of working with young people all over the world, Free The Children, among its many initiatives, provides free educational resources for local and global issues to help you make a difference: from fun activities you can do at home to awareness and fundraising campaigns. Visit www.freethechildren.co.uk.

Free The Children's partner organisation We Day is a series of events that inspire and empower young people to be active local and global citizens. We Day UK will be held on 5 March 2015 at The SSE Arena, Wembley.

More on Parentdish