Jump-Start Serving with Your Kids
You will need:
- Crayons, markers
This, I think, is one of the best things to teach your child and probably should be the first type of service act you complete. Thanking someone helps the child think about the good feeling of receiving a gift, a special event, or a special service act from someone else. It does not have to be fancy. Most of our thank you notes are handwritten and with stickers and drawings from the children.
If you want to talk to your children about being specific or adding detail to their notes, you may want to read The Secret of Saying Thanks.This book is extremely detailed about being thankful.
- $2.00 (or more) in various coins for the vending machine
- Ziplock bag
- Sharpie marker
- Grab a ziplock bag, put nickels, dimes, and quarters inside. (as many as you want but at least $2.00)
- Write something like “Take What You Need” on the bag.
- Grab tape as you are walking out the door. (I use painter’s tape)
- Load the kids into the car and drive to the nearest ER (Probably the only time you’ll drive there without any urgency. So make sure you roll down the windows and all of you sing along to a groovy song on the radio.).
- Locate and travel to (with ninja-like stealth) the nearest vending machines in the ER area.
- Tape bags of coins on vending machines without anyone knowing.
- Vacate the premises with now finely honed ninja stealth skills while giggling over the secret service act!
This is one of our favorites that we have repeated.
- Book (see below)
- You’ll need a book that talks about the power of words, positive and negative. For younger kids, I would suggest: Being Frank
Use Martin’s Big Words book or access it online for older kids that will understand the story of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Read the book and talk about the power of words. Discuss how positive words and negative words affect us. How do you feel when someone says something mean? Something nice?
Talk about how compliments are positive words.
Then practice giving each other compliments.
Decide who to give compliments to for the rest of the day. Write a couple of them down on post-its to hand out if your children are shy to talk to others. We like giving them to the employees where we go the most: the child care center at the gym, at our local mail delivery office, and to our mail carrier.
- Stickers, markers, crayons
- Take some time at the website to choose a child of similar age or interests of your own children. I use Hugs and Hope for Sick Children: Happy Mail .
- Share with your kids who you are writing to and why.
- Talk about what it must be like to be seriously sick and how the child may not be able to play or attend school like your own children can.
- Then let them draw, write, add stickers, and create a cheerful work of art for the child that needs some cheer.
- Make sure to enlist your children’s help with getting it ready to mail and in the mailbox.
- New or gently use books to donate
- My children love to donate books, particularly if I can find gently used copies of their favorite books. We like to donate books to:
- A friend that needs a special “pick-me up”—whetherit is a new friend or a friend that has been sick. (and who hasn’t been sick this winter?)
- Our pediatrician
- Local social services office where there are waiting rooms where moms with children have to wait
- Church nurseries
- Local child advocacy centers
- It truly is as simple as walking into the place and asking to donate to their book bin. I have never had anyone turn us down.