Involving your children in caregiving activities can be fun. All you need are a few ideas that are tailored to your kids’ ages and interests. Here are four of my favorites:
Build a “Kit”
Do you remember when you were a young child and it was time to go back to school and your mom took you to purchase a new box of crayons? That was so exciting. Now you and your family can bring that same excitement to children in disaster situations or needy areas in our world by putting together School Kits.
One year my family put together 300 School Kits. It was so much fun, and even the young grandchildren participated. We set up an assembly line and each person filled a kit with crayons, pencils, a ruler, eraser, etc. We all felt proud and happy when we saw this huge mountain of 300 kits.
For information on how to assemble different “kits” for School, Baby Care, Hygiene, and Emergency Clean Up, go to Christian World Services CWS Kits site.
Gather the Family to Bake (and Share!) Cookies
Cookie making and decorating is also a fun activity for the entire family. Even my teenagers have fun decorating cookies! When they are finished we all deliver them to the people at the Hospice home, to shut-ins, children in the hospital, or fire fighters and police officers. As a family we also enjoy just sitting at the kitchen counter, sharing stories, and yes, sneaking a few cookies as we assemble the cookie trays.
Here are 100 easy cookie recipes from Pinterest to give you a few ideas.
Draw on Hobbies, Talents and Interests
One of the best ways to involve family members in caregiving is to make it a natural outgrowth of existing family activities. Even the youngest of children can color a photo to brighten someone’s day. Older kids can help do simple chores for neighbors or play a musical instrument. (Retirement community residents in particular love to attend musical or choral performances.) Here are nine ways kids of all ages (including teens) can use their talents and interests to help others.
Expose Teens to a Bigger Back Yard
I believe that teenagers want to make a difference, if we give them opportunities to do so. For our family, one such way to show teens how to make a difference is to participate in mission trips. It gets them outside their “back yard,” off their digital devices and into a new and interesting world.
Over the course of four years my husband and I organized a spring break mission work experience. Instead of heading to the ocean beaches or to the Colorado slopes, we headed to Water Mission International in Charleston, South Carolina, or to Echo in Ft Myers, Florida. Here is one of my favorite stories from those days:
One family, the McKnight family participated in all four of these trips. Ann, the mother said, “As spring break time approached our kids would ask, ‘Where are we going to work this spring break?’ The kids loved it. Why? I think it was because they worked alongside the adults, and they knew they were doing something important. For instance, one day at Water Missions, which builds water filtration systems for developing countries, Ian’s mom decided to take the children back to the hotel for an afternoon swim. But Ian said, ‘I can’t go back to the hotel and swim when there are children in the world who do not have clean water to drink!’”
This story shows the power of exposing teens to how others live beyond the borders of their home communities.
Caregiving can be fun. I believe that if we make caregiving a fun family time and also something that we do often, we will establish a caregiving habit in our children’s lives. When they have families of their own, there is a good chance they will also make caregiving a part of their family life.