Moms, remember just a couple of months ago when the kids started back to school and life seemed chaotic? I was thinking how in my house it feels like we have just reached a routine and daily chaos has been minimized (note, still very much present). Then, I read Julie’s blog and was reminded that the Christmas season will soon be closing in on us.
It will be any day now that my kids start publishing their wish lists. My husband and I “do the Santa thing” and buy into a lot of the frivolousness that the season can bring. But one thing we also strive to do is to remember what Christmas really is about. It can be challenging to instill into our children the true meaning of Christmas. My kids are three and six this year and I have decided they are old enough to begin serving others. To my husband and I, this is part of the magic of the season. While serving can and should be done year round, we all know that people do more of it around the holidays.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
Here are Ten ideas for ways your kids can serve:
1) Organizations with volunteer opportunities awaiting you!
Food Distribution Centers like NW Harvest (min age is 9) OR organizations such as Hopelink (min age is 7) are always looking for volunteers. Simply go online or call to get you and the family signed up.
2) Grocery Helpers. Take your kid to the local grocery store and have them help people by running carts back into the store, helping carry groceries to the car etc. One of my friends had her kids do this and said that people absolutely loved it.
3) Donate Toys/Clothes. One thing I do each year before Christmas and birthdays is I have my three and six year old clean out their toy bins/books and closets knowing the items will go to kids who needs them.
4) Adopt a Family (any time of the year!). While this idea is more popular during the holiday season, you can adopt a family at any time of the year. If appropriate, take your kids with you to shop and deliver the items. They will get a glimpse into the lives of others less fortunate. Sources to find a family in need can include your church, employer or organizations through an online search.
5) Clean up trash. Grab some gloves and garbage bags and head out to clean up your neighboring streets and parks. Safety first, of course to ensure kids are not picking up anything dangerous.
6) Help a neighbor. Ideas could be using a dust buster to vacuum out their car or wipe down the seats with a rag and cleaner (even little kids can do that!), walk their dog or pick up their mail.
7) Put together and deliver “care kits” for the homeless. (This one is my favorite). Last year, my kids and I made up little “ care kits” that we would hand out to the homeless when the opportunity arose. Socks, homemade bread, travel-sized toothpaste/toothbrushes etc are usually what we included typically just stored in a big ziplock bag. I kept them in the car so we would have them on hand. My kids really liked this one.
8) Cards for those in need. This one is GREAT for smaller kids. Contact a local hospital or senior center to see if your child can make birthday cards, valentines etc for patients/residents. Make the connection with your child that their art work can brighten someone’s day!
9) Volunteer at church. While they may not be old enough to serve in a kids room/Sunday school, they may be old enough to stay with you and open the doors, greet people and/or pass our programs. My three year old is probably not going to find value in that but my six year old should learn that it takes lots of people to run a church and we can be a part of that.
10) Operation Christmas Child. (Another of my favorites). Check them out soon; national collection week is November 14-21.
What are some ways that your children serve? We’d love the ideas!