kids

A very quick guide to raising more socially minded kids.

Optus
Thanks to our brand partner, Optus

Kids these days have it easier than my generation in many respects: air-conditioned classrooms, laptops with information at the ready, and a plethora of activities and events geared to their age group.

Best we got was a cold flannel on our forehead at bedtime or a stern instruction to “go outside and play” if we ever dared to trot out the “I’m boooored” complaint during daylight hours.

Yet this generation is far more aware of the world around them, conscious of the earth and its biodiversity, and compassionate and empathetic to the people that live on it.

Raising children who can see beyond the bubble of their neighbourhood is where it starts.

There’s a raft of simple things you can do regularly to encourage your kids to understand that the world is always grateful for kindness. Here's where we've started in my household. 

Technology is a privilege... one we all don't have.

With kids in need of computers for school, and accessibility to their teacher and learning during the pandemic, there’s more devices in the hands of Australians than ever before. 

But still many are being left behind simply because they don’t have regular access to the internet, and often, because our kids are so used to having them readily available, they sometimes forget what a privilege it is to have access to technology. 

That's where the Donate Your Data program by Optus comes in. They're partnered with various charities like The Smith Family, Mission Australia and The Salvation Army to provide internet access to young people, their families and other Australians who might be doing it tough.

How? Optus pools and distributes data donations from generous families, giving recipients a Prepaid SIM with data, plus calls and texts.

Getting the kids involved in initiatives like this both promote the importance of generosity, while also highlighting that access to technology isn't just a give in, it's a privilege. 

Optus is also running the Donate Your Device program which enables you to bring an eligible phone into an Optus store and the team will clean your phone, wipe any data you have saved and prepare it for donation. 

This one is perfect for the teens in your house that have recently upgraded their phones and have one sitting in the cupboard they no longer use. 

If your phone is unable to be donated to a recipient, Optus will recycle it or trade it in, reducing tech waste and helping to build a more sustainable world. 

Better yet, when customers donate their device, it’s paired with a Donate Your Data™ SIM so the person receiving it is connected to the Optus Living Network and ready to go. 

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So far 28 Million Gigabytes of data has been donated by Optus customers, which has helped connect more than 25,000 Australians in need.

Imagine your family playing a small part in all this?

Do as I say AND as I do.

Children are impressionable. They’re always watching you. Lead by example and be the responsible adult you want them to grow up to be.

Telling your kids how to act is one thing, but it’s seeing how the grown-ups in their life behave that has the impact.

Be courteous in traffic on the way to school, pick up the litter that’s blowing down the street and put it in a bin, bring some homemade bikkies for the hardworking kinder teachers to have with a cuppa… and take your green bags to the supermarket.

Image: Supplied.

Every little bit counts... even when it feels like it doesn't.

My kids’ school is amazing for encouraging the students to think of others so dress up/theme days are common... if you bring a gold coin donation for the privilege. 

Not only do the outfits allow individuality to shine, but it’s a reminder that there are charitable causes that require awareness and funds to help as many people as possible. 

Little Greta Thunberg. Image: Supplied.

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A gold coin is not a lot, but when the entire school community chips in, it adds up to be a big helping hand.

We always encourage our kids to reach into their own piggy banks and they are all too willing to hand over some loose coins they might have, keen to help someone else or a cause that truly needs it.  

Always share the things you find joy in.

Yes, I might drive around with the bags in the boot for longer than I care to admit. But we have been (and will continue to be) prolific op-shop donors.

The benefits go both ways — you clear the house of things that no longer spark joy but could be just what someone else is looking for.

The kids especially seem to accumulate so many ‘things’ that hold their attention for all of five minutes so we have regular clear-outs in our house.

They’re happy to donate some things if they know it might go to someone else who doesn’t have as much but who will love it even more (watch the Mr Monkeyjocks episode of Bluey for more on this. Do. It. Now.).

Our local opportunity shops raise money for the Salvos, Australian Red Cross and Sacred Heart Mission, and the kids and I chat about where the money from the sale of something they’ve donated might go. 

The warm fuzzies are a bonus. 

Never underestimate the power of a real hero.

Yes, sports and television stars are great and all, and sure, it’s nice to have our kids aspire to be the best in their field but we try to encourage our kids to idolise some truly inspiring people whose achievements are not so self-serving.

Greta Thunberg, Dylan Alcott and Anh Do are just three of some phenomenal people shining the spotlight on climate action, inclusivity and the plight of refugees.

Telling my kids about them brings a tear to my eye. Best part is there’s many more like them and plenty of opportunity for today’s youngsters to be just as remarkable.

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Image: Supplied.

It’s easy being green(er).

“Turn off the water when brushing your teeth!” is something I used to say a lot. 

But not so much now. 

My kids get why it must happen, and they remember to do it themselves these days. But it took some constant reminding about the importance of conserving water for it to sink in (pardon the pun). 

Refusing straws with their drinks – better still, we try to BYO cup – is now a good habit. We also walk to and from school almost every day to lessen the impact on the environment, and we even planted a flourishing veggie and herb patch in the yard to help the kids have a better understanding of food production and packaging waste.

Optus has also now introduced the Optus Eco section to their app, which allows your family to make choices that positively impact the environment. From going paperless to offsetting some of your mobile's environmental effect, it's a small but easy way to make a difference.

All baby steps but as we well know, from little things, big things grow.

If you and your family are ready to make a difference, get involved in Optus' Eco Donate Your Data and Donate Your Device on the Optus Living Network. By donating, you could join the thousands of Australians that have helped connect families in need around the country. 

Feature Image: Supplied.

Optus
Many Australians are being left behind, simply because they don’t have regular access to the internet. Donate Your Data™ invited Optus customers to donate a little of their extra data to power the potential of Australians in need. Now, with the help of a new trusted charity partner Good360 Australia, customers can also donate their spare phone to someone who needs it, with Donate Your Device. Donate Your Data™ was our first step towards providing people in need with much needed connectivity. Now you can also Donate Your Device to someone who needs it. Optus will then pair it with a Donate Your Data™ SIM so that the person receiving will be connected and ready to go.