Category Archives: Parenting

Kid Service Projects

Once there are kids in the picture, simple things can become a little more complicated. Anyone else agree? Where once you could commit to serving once a week or could drop everything and give up a Saturday it is much more difficult. It’s simpler to say no and not find kid service projects.

raking a pile of leaves. This is a great list of kid service project ideas!

Sure, we might not be able to serve in the same manner we were before, but don’t quit all together! Brainstorm some kid service projects that would work with your family.

Coming up with family service projects is also a great way to raise more grateful children.

Throughout the year, I challenge each of us to purposely add a few hours of serving to our calendars. We can do this!

7 Kid Service Projects

1. Operation Christmas Child Shoe boxes

We’ve been doing this since our oldest was a baby. Each of our kids makes a shoe box for the age group and gender associated with them.

Once they reach an appropriate age, we don’t just hand them the money to shop and fill these boxes. Instead, they work and do extra jobs around the house to earn money. One year they did a bake sale at a garage sale for this project. Our 6 year old really got into doing extra jobs this year and worked hard earning money. The 4 1/2 year old also did little jobs but wasn’t quiet as enthused as big sister. 😉

Why do we make them work? So that they are invested in the project and can take ownership. They can can feel good about what they actually worked to achieve instead of just having fun doing it with mom and dad’s money. After they work and earn money, they go shopping, select the items (with guidance if necessary), pack their box, and go deliver them to the drop off point.

They love doing this every year – and I love seeing them work to be able to buy items with their own money and do so excitedly! And as they are shopping for kids that have so little, I can see their minds processing just how much they do have.

2. Sponsor a Child

With your child, find a child to sponsor. Look at Gospel for Asia, Compassion, and World Vision. If sponsoring a child monthly isn’t in your budget, many of those same organizations have “gift” catalogs where you can make a one time purchase of something like ducks, mosquito nets, school supplies etc.

Like number one, let your child earn money to give toward this project. It likely won’t be enough to cover the entire child sponsorship, but even them doing extra jobs each month to have even some money to apply toward the sponsorship will make a difference.

3. Volunteering

Doing things for others really can help broaden perspective and make you appreciate what you have. Many non profit organizations have plenty of jobs that can be done – even things like laundry or organizing. It may take some calling around to find a place that fits with what the ages and abilities of your children are, but there is something.

My mom had us volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center as kids. We were able to do things like cleaning the bathroom and waiting room, putting together newborn bags, organizing the clothing room.

During the Christmas season there will most likely be even more opportunities. Look for places serving meals, that need presents wrapped, cards mailed etc.

Don’t forget about your local church either! Often times there are ample opportunities to step up and volunteer. Even simple things like setting up before a potluck, staying for kitchen duty, showing up to a clean up day are great kid service projects.

4. Delivering Baked Goods

The next time you are making bread, cookies, or cinnamon rolls why don’t you make up some extra and deliver them to your neighbors, widows you know, someone who is going through a hard time, emergency responders etc. Doing little things for others really can make us more grateful for what we have. You could also have your kids draw or write cards to go with the goodies.

raking a pile of leaves. These are great ideas for kid service projects!

5. Needs Around You

Be aware. This requires slowing down. And it’s hard. Train yourself to notice needs and people around you, let your kids see you listen and act.

I have a friend who is so good at this it always amazes me. Bringing meals, visiting the sick and lonely, cleaning out gutters, running to the store, stocking a refrigerator, being a listening ear – this person has served so many people just by taking the time to listen, ask, and act.

6. Make a meal

Again, this is a simple thing to do with your kids! They can help you cook, bake, and deliver! It can be easy to dismiss doing things because they aren’t big or important, but the little things can be just as appreciated. Many a new mom (raises my hand) and under the weather individual has been blessed by supper being dropped off.

We are cooking anyway so we can make extra and be a blessing without a large time or financial commitment.

7. Presents

During the holidays, look for an organization that is providing presents for kids that wouldn’t otherwise get anything. Our church even does a gift tree some years. Find an item that’s in your budget and have your kids go shopping. You could even have your kids earn money to purchase items like we do for the shoe boxes!

During the rest of the year, ask a children’s home, foster family, shelter if there are any birthdays you can help with. A lot of kids have basic needs met by these presents.

8. Outdoor Work

Go to the neighborhood park with trash sacks and gloves to pick up litter. Rake the home bound person’s yard. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway after doing yours. All simple things that cost you nothing and your kids could work alongside you.

Do you struggle to find time to come up with kid service projects or family service projects? Have you found any ways to serve with kids that have worked well? Share in the comments, I’d love to hear!

a rake and a pile of leaves. This post has great ideas for kid service projects!

Easy Ways to Avoid Raising Ungrateful Children

Do you ever wonder if you are raising ungrateful children? Our kids have long lists of wants. Wants that they think are needs. My kids have all their needs met and have so many extras yet they still complain about what they don’t have.

picture of boy jumping with text that says easy ways to raise grateful children

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What are some easy ways to avoid raising ungrateful children?

I’m learning as I go. My children are still young. I don’t know what I am doing. If it makes you feel better, Kristin Welch at We Are That Family says that the secret to raising grateful kids doesn’t exist. (Bummer, I know!)

Yet I do know I want to raise grateful children. I do know I get tired of hearing “I wants” and that what they have is not enough in their little minds.

Thankfully, I think as parents there are some simple things we can do to help cultivate gratitude in our children.

7 Ways to Avoid Raising Ungrateful Children:

1. Serve

Isn’t there something about serving that takes your eyes off of yourself? Be there for those around you. Serve not only financially but also with your time. Have your kids be very involved in the process.

Here are some simple ideas to get you started:

  • Making cookies for someone that recently had a loss
  • Delivering a meal for a family after a surgery
  • Doing yard work for an individual who can’t
  • Volunteering at a refugee center, homeless shelter, or crisis pregnancy center

2. Don’t Give Your Children Everything

Just because your child wants something, doesn’t mean you need to buy it for them! It might feel mean to say no when all of their friends have it but it’s okay to tell your child “no, you aren’t old enough or it’s not appropriate” or “you are right, that sounds like a lot of fun. If you want it, you will have to save up for it”.

When you work hard for something, it’s tends to be appreciated (and taken care of) a lot more. It will also help your children learn that money doesn’t magically appear – they learn and appreciate its value.

Not only will your kids be grateful for their prized item when they save up and make the purchase, they will also be more grateful in the future for things that are given them.

3. Gratitude List

Anyone else guilty of sometimes forgetting the big picture? Of sometimes only seeing the negative and stressful moments? I know it can’t just be me. Our kids are the same way! Having a gratitude list is a great way to help change their mindset and how they view life.

Buy a simple notebook for everyone in your house and challenge them to start writing down 2 or 3 things they are thankful for everyday. Even the little ones can get involved – have them dictate to you their “thankfuls”. You can also print off one of the free gratitude printables in the resource library you receive access to as a subscriber!

4. Thank You Cards

Did you grow up writing thank you cards? Keep the tradition going with your kids! After their birthdays and Christmas have them sit down and write (or draw) notes before they spend the money or use the gifts. My mom was great about doing this with us. I’ve tried to continue doing it with my children. I need to work on being a little more prompt with it. Thank you cards months late just aren’t quite the same.

5. Ditch the Media

Companies everywhere are trying to get our kids to want to have (have to have) their products! If the “gimmes” and “I wants” are a big problem in your house, consider how much screen time they have. Commercials, YouTube channels, ads on electronic devices, and kids’ shows can all contribute to the need for more. Limiting media might also just help your kids enjoy and utilize the toys they do have!

6. Read the News

Read the news with your kids or give age appropriate summaries. Learn about other countries and cultures around the world. Being aware of the world outside of their own community broadens their horizons and gives them a bigger picture. Learning about natural disasters and fighting in another country suddenly makes your want seem not quite as important.

7. Leading by Example

This is a little scary, isn’t it? Our kids are watching us and how we react. If we change our tune and start responding to circumstances differently, they probably will too.

As parents, do we have to have the latest and greatest gadgets, best vacations, nice cars or are we content with what we have now? Are we okay with taking the time to save up for a purchase?

Instead of seeing the glass half empty, purpose to look for the little glimmers of hope, the gifts in our lives, and all that we have to be grateful for even when life isn’t going the way we want. What an example we would be to our children.

We need to give thanks in everything. Not just the good, not just the exciting. Not just when life is going well. Even when it’s a struggle to find one thing to be thankful for.

When we do, and we let our children hear us give thanks, we are influencing them and how they respond. How can we do that – give thanks even in the bad? There’s only one way – looking to Jesus. Our joy has to be found in Him.

What ways have you found to avoid raising ungrateful children?

Don’t forget to check out the resource library for the free gratitude template downloads!

If you want to read an entire book on this subject, check out this one by Kristin Welch:

picture of balloon with chair and text about ways to avoid raising ungrateful children

picture of table with journal and text about ways to avoid raising ungrateful children

What I Learned in October – Parenting Edition

Random parenting tips that I’ve gleaned or appreciated over the last month.

1. 5 minute pick up is one of my favorite housekeeping tools. The living room suffers greatly when we by-pass this rule. Most nights, after dinner and dishes are done we set the timer and my husband, myself and our 2 year old all race the clock to get as much tidied up as we can.

2. Bath time is the perfect time for reading. Put both kids in the tub and sit on the toilet and read as they splash away. No other time do they stay in place for that long unless asleep. Since I won’t leave them in the bath alone, I might as well read.

books

3. Libraries are a good form of entertainment, especially the ones with toys in the children’s area. My little girl never wants to leave. At least I can bribe her away with promises of new books to read and movies to watch at home.

library

4. 2 1/2 is a fun age for reading. My daughter still loves pop-up books with bold pictures but she’ll also sit through children’s books such as Frog and Toad with lots of words.

5. My daughter loves to help in the kitchen. She has to be the one to scoop the muffin batter into the tins. It takes her a ridiculously long time, but I decide that it’s just fine because it gives me time to get all the dishes done and the counters wiped down before she’s done.

helper

6. Babies feel left out. Sometimes my little guy is fussy and whiny, but when you bring him to be a part of the action and let him look at people’s faces he turns into a smiley and talkative baby.

7. Sleep and Plays are amazing. Why? Not having to worry about socks disappearing off of kicking feet.

8. Children are parrots. They pick up on everything you say and do. I have a habit of doing an exasperated sigh when I’m frustrated, irritated, or whatever. The 2 1/2 year old has started doing the same thing. Wow. Talk about a great reminder to watch what I say and how I respond.

Linking up to Teaching Tuesdays, Mommy Brain Mixer, From House to Home, Fellowship Fridays, Essential Fridays, Babies and Beyond, Teach Me Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tending the Home Tuesdays, Welcome Home Wednesday, Thriving ThursdayMama Moments

When You Feel Like You Can’t Do It All

Today I’m excited to have my first guest post published at The Purposeful Mom! This post is for all of us moms who get overwhelmed and feel like we can’t do it all.

As a mom, wife and homemaker, it’s easy be overwhelmed and feel like I can’t do it all.

Dishes need to be done. Laundry is waiting in the dryer to be put away. A child needs to be disciplined. The baby is crying. Your husband would like to eat.

Those are just a few of the responsibilities within your family. Then add in minimal outside commitments: church activities, volunteer work, dinner with friends, and work activities.

You can't do it allSo many times I feel like I’m in over my head. There’s no way I can do what I need to accomplish and do it well. I stress about not being the kind-of parent my daughter needs, not holding my little guy often enough (way less than his older sister was held), not having time to relax and enjoy downtime with my husband, and having to say no to good opportunities.

Head over to The Purposeful Mom to read the rest!

Linking up to Mommy Brain Mixer, Thriving Thursday, Fellowship Fridays, Faith Filled Friday, Living Proverbs 31, Babies and Beyond, Teach Me Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tending the Home Tuesdays, House to Home, Essential FridaysMama MomentsTGIM