3 Ways to Serve with Your Preschooler

I don’t want my kids to just have a “good childhood.” I don’t want them to think that the world is all about them.

I want to shape their hearts to love and serve.

God convicted me with this word of wisdom:

Stop living for the kids and start showing them how to live for Christ.

I want to show my kids the urgency of living this life.

It’s not about being entertained and our own happiness. It’s about showing Christ’s love and keeping our focus on eternity.

I will show you my faith by my works. James 2:18

Here are 3 simple ways to serve with your kids.

1. Volunteer at Church

How do you serve at church with your kids? Sign up to help with something your kids are involved in.

Are they in nursery or a preschool class? Volunteer to teach or help the teacher.

Volunteer at camps or kids’ events. Help when you can, however you can.

Clean up after an event and get your kids involved. A 2-year-old can throw away cups. A 3-year-old can wipe tables.

2. Fundraise or Donate

Let them clean through their toys or clothes that they don’t use any more. Donate them to a local charity, or crisis shelter. Take your kids to that place, and let them carry the items inside.

Go to fundraisers with them. There are a lot of 5k’s out there raising money for a good cause, or let them save their money to buy something they can donate.

We went as a family to a “Walk for Life” that raised money for our local pregnancy support center.

You can also donate books to a “little library.” We have a few in our town. One at an elementary school and a some at a couple parks.

Encourage your kids to pick out their books from home, and drive to go put them in the little library.

3. Visit a Nursing Home

My grandma lives in an assisted living center 2 hours away, so we don’t see her as often as we would like.

My sister-in-law works at the state capitol and passes around candy to spread joy to everyone, especially to stressed or grumpy people.

What a simple act of love. Passing out candy.

I thought that would be pretty sweet to take my kids to a local nursing home and pass out candy.

I remembered the time my son insisted on wearing his Spider-Man costume to Lowe’s and every person we passed either smiled, chuckled, or stopped to say hi to Spider-Man.

So we combined ideas. We put on our Spider-Man costume and princess dress, bought a bunch of butterscotch, caramels, and Hershey kisses, and walked down every hall at the nursing home.

We didn’t know anybody, and we had never been there.

Still, my kids had fun handing out candy.

They got comfortable enough that they just started walking into people’s rooms.

The workers even were thanking me for visiting, saying a lot of them needed this.

I loved watching my kids bring joy to other people. We still have kid-fun, but we are going to look for ways 1-3 hours a week or a weekend to serve others.

What can you do to serve with your children?

How can you show them how to love?


The Chore Chart for Toddlers

We are in a new season at our house. I don’t know what to call it other than the throw-a-tantrum-for-no-reason season.

Like literally everything.

Fits over a particular cup. Fits over a food that we don’t even have. Fits over “my turn.” Fits over the wrong color of the dinosaur on a pull-up.

The struggle was particularly real in the mornings.

So I finally listened to my Parents as Teachers educator and made my own version of the classic chore chart.

I took the 1-year-old and now 3-year-old to the store and spent $5 total on poster board + 4 pack of paint dab markers.

The 3-year-old helped me pick out clip art images online of all the things we struggle to do cheerfully.

We settled on 8 tasks.

Go potty. Get dressed. Brush teeth. Comb hair. Shoes on/off. Bath. Book. Prayers.

Those are the things we are using as a starting point. Not all are a struggle.

We cut out the pictures and taped them to the poster. We stuck it on the side of the kitchen cabinet at a height they could reach.

We also went back over the pictures with packing tape after the 1-year-old thought it was fun to pick them off.

Every time they do one of these tasks they get to “put a dot” on the chart. Just getting to use the paint dab itself has been a reward and motivation.

I can see for the future– filling up the chart leading to a trip to the dollar store. For now, we will just use the dab markers.

We will also change this up once they master these routines without fuss. This can become a real chore chart in the future.

After a couple weeks of the “dot chart” as we call it, it has definitely been a tool to get the kids motivated and excited to do these routines.

It has cut down on the fit-throwing.

Cut-down is the main phrase there.

I would highly recommend this chore chart for toddlers if the struggle is real at your house.

10 Reasons to Appreciate a Daycare Teacher

1. They are not daycare workers, they are daycare teachers.  Their lesson plan every day includes: how to share, how to have “nice hands” and “walking feet,” how to say please and thank you, how to walk behind someone without pushing, how to take turns, and how to have “listening ears.”

2. They are not just teachers.  They are also janitors and nurses.  They make boo-boos feel better and dry up tears.  They spray, wipe, sanitize, sweep, mop, vacuum, and take out the trash.

3. They are waitresses. They balance little trays and cups of milk.  They pick up squashed peas off the floor.  Scoop peaches when they ask for more.

4. They change 5 dirty diapers, within 10 minutes, the day after beef and corn.

5. They get 12 little ducklings to follow in a row on their way to the playground.

6. They tie tiny shoes. Snap tiny pants. Fold tiny blankeys. Wipe tiny noses. Spend 5 minutes fixing the heels of tiny Converse. Multiply all of this by 12 on some days.

7. They are there before parents go to work and-or don’t go home until the last kid is picked up as the second hand ticks to closing time.

8. They lay out cots and pillows and blankeys and paci’s.  They know who gets a pacifier, who gets a 6 oz bottle, who has to have all the lights out, who will wake up early, who came in late and will lay awake.  They sit between cots patting restless toddlers to sleep.  They spend the rest of nap time keeping the one early riser from waking the 11 others.

9. They go home and take care of their own families and homes, or their own children.  They somehow find time to rest their tired feet.

10. They are patient and kind.  They are trustworthy.  They do their best with no promise of rest.  They don’t enjoy disciplining, but do it with love.  Their heart swells to see your child grow and learn and smile and play.  They laugh at the funny things the kids always say.  Say thank you to your daycare teacher.  They love your child more than you know.

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Note: I worked at my kids’ daycare this summer.  I have a new found appreciation for all of the staff!  I worked in every age, 0-10.  Every age group has their challenges, but still they each have something sweet, hilarious, or special about each of them.  You can show appreciation to the teachers with a simple gift: their favorite drink or candy, a little note, or just a daily “thank you.”  They don’t ask for recognition, but show them some love for loving your most precious gift each day.