So, in the spirit of Christmas we wanted to post some ideas on how you and your kiddos could help others this season. Even if you don’t have chance to take advantage of these ideas before Christmas, you can always put them on your calendar for the New Year. Trust me, serving isn’t isolated to the holidays.
This is an easy service activity, and one that your kiddos can easily get into. The idea is simple. Go to the grocery store with your tot and let them pick out a couple of cans of soup. Then get back into your car and drive to your nearest food pantry. Let you kiddo be the one to hand the soup over to the food pantry operator.
E is 2, and we are serving in a church right now with a large number of elderly members. It never fails to amaze how E brightens their day, and she is not doing anything special-she’s just 2. Toddlers have an amazing ability to brighten people’s day, so take advantage of it. Let your child color some pictures out of a coloring book. Then, put each picture in an envelope. You then have several options for delivery.
1) Take the “letters” to the shut ins from your church and let your child deliver them.
2) Take them to church with you if your crunched for time, and let your child deliver the letters to older members who often come to church alone.
3) Take your child to a nursing home to hand the letters out. You don’t have to know anyone in the home, and it will still mean a lot to the people you see. You will have to be the judge of whether or not your toddler could handle this, as some toddlers are afraid of people they don’t know.
Salvation Army Bucket:
Give your child a simple task at home. I often let E “swifter” for me. I hand her a dry swifter cloth and let her wipe down our bookcase. When the task is done, give them some pocket change.
With their pocket change in hand take them to a place where there is a Salvation Army volunteer with a bucket. Now here, is the tricky part. I don’t want E to be my little giving slave, I want her to feel real EMPATHY for people who are in need. This is where I get down on her level and ask her how she would feel if she didn’t get anything for Christmas. She has told me she would be sad, so I ask her if she would like to help other people who are sad because they don’t have things for Christmas. She is normally eager. I then tell her that she has earned money to put in the bucket if she’d like, and she happily has given it. At one point this year my attempt backfired, and the Goofy toy we bought for Toys for Tots never made it to the tot. Your child will NOT be perfect, but your teaching them to give joyfully, and I think that’s important.
If you try any of these ideas, let us know how they work. Good or bad, its encouraging for other mommies!