As moms, one of the most important things we can teach our children is to have a servant’s heart. Not only does the Bible call us to do so, we are blessed and grow closer to Christ in the process. But this can be a huge challenge for families with small children. We often think we must be in a season where it’s not possible, but truthfully we just need to think outside the box.
First up, we need to consider how to best serve with little ones in tow.
- Keep it simple- Don’t make the task larger than life.
- Make it teachable- Make it something that teaches them a life lesson. Children are still very self-focused, and even though we are teaching them to look at others, they need to see how they can help.
- Give them doable tasks- Make the task they are going to do something they won’t need much help with. Making pictures or picking items out are things that kids do very well.
- Make it valuable – These moments can stick in your child’s mind for a long time. Make sure that the moment is valuable to them. Help them see the need, and that they can meet it.
- Prayer- Even after your “mission” is completed, continue to pray for the one you blessed. This will help remind your little ones that their service was not just to a person, but to the Lord.
Serving with young kids needs to be super practical. We need them to be able to see the need, and know that they can help meet it. Here are 3 super practical ways you can serve with young children.
Minister to Shut-ins
Shut-ins are people in your church or community who are not able to get out much anymore. To start, share with your children that there are some people who are not able to get out of the house anymore. Ask your children how it would make them feel if they had to stay inside every day. This will build empathy with the shut-in. Ask your children what they could do to help this person feel better. You might need to guide them in their answer- but hopefully, they will begin to think that going to visit or sending them something in the mail would brighten their day.
From there, help your children decide what you can do for the person. Again, you might have to help guide these answers. Great suggestions would be coloring a picture, writing a note, copying a Bible verse, or baking cookies. Children can help with all of these activities. As you are working on the activity, remind them who they are doing it for. Then, you can take them to visit this shut-in (or send the cards in the mail). Before you leave, offer to pray with them. This is a great time to ask your child if they would like to pray for the elderly person.
Homeless Blessing Bags
Driving around town with your child might have them noticing that people live outside or under bridges. This is a great teaching moment. You can explain that not everyone has a home, and what a blessing your home is. Ask them what kinds of things a person who doesn’t have a home might need.
This is also a great time to talk about the difference between needs and wants. For example, children might say that a homeless person would need food. When you ask them what kind of food you could give them – they might suggest a cookie. Cookies are awesome, but they are not needs. However, a better suggestion might be to give granola bars.
Show them a gallon-size ziptop bag and tell them you are going to fill it for a homeless person. After having this kind of discussion with your children, go to the store and walk around the toiletry aisle – and ask them what things there are needs. Have them make some suggestions. Continue to discuss the difference between needs and wants. Have them pick out some items to place in the bag.
Cancer Care Packages for Kids
Children who are going through cancer are often stuck inside at cancer wards. Children don’t like being sick. Even though they may not understand how hard it is for cancer patients, they do understand being sick. Ask your children to name some things they like when they don’t feel good. Ideas might be cuddling a teddy bear, a special blanket, or coloring in coloring books. Ask them what they think they can do to help make a sick child feel better. Guide them into making a care package with a card or picture that they have drawn, coloring books, and a teddy bear.
I hope this list of ideas got you going! There are plenty of things you can do to serve – even with young children! What are some ways that you are teaching your children to serve? How do you keep it simple and practical? We would love to hear!
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Through practical tools & Bible-based resources, Kim Sorgius is dedicated to helping your family GROW in faith so you can be Not Consumed by life’s struggles. Author of popular kid’s devotional Bible studies and practical homeschooling tools, Kim has a master’s degree in education and curriculum design coupled with over 2 decades of experience working with kids and teens. Above all, her most treasured job is mother and homeschool teacher of four amazing kiddos.