Be the Best Mom: Easy Peasy Service with Kids

Be the Best Mom in 2013

At the beginning of the year, I shared my New Year’s resolution to “Be the Best Mom” with more positive thinking.  Since then I have hosted a variety of moms who have shared their plans to “Be the Best Mom” they can be in 2013, including specific steps that you can implement, too!  So far we’ve heard from Karyn about her great ideas to teach her kids about good nutrition, from Stephanie with her great tips to get organized, from Sara with her mission for managing stress in the new year, and from Varya with her simple steps to make reading fun for her kids.  Now, let’s hear Sheila’s easy peasy plan for service with her kids…

Service with Kids

Easy Peasy Plan for Service with Kids at B-InspiredMama.com

2013′s Plan for Easy Peasy Service

Starting last September, my two young boys and I began completing a small act of service each day that would typically take 15 minutes.  We call it a “penny of time.”   Within a few weeks, I saw that serving with my boys, making them an active part of helping others, had an amazing influence on our family.  We were happier.  The boys were kinder. As 2013 came around, I needed to think more strategically about how we would continue to serve daily.  Our lives are busy.  As the boys are getting older, the demands on their time are increasing.  I decided to brainstorm strategies to make serving each day easier.  This is my plan on how to make Serving in 2013 Easy Peasy.

 

4 Strategies to Make Service WITH My Kids Easy Peasy

 

Strategy 1:  Serve while completing daily activities.

This does two things: 1) it doesn’t take us too far out of our way, and 2) we serve those that are constantly serving us.
Here are a few we decided to do:
  • Love notes for the mailman.  We love this!  We developed a relationship with our mail carrier during the fall doing this.  We have a new mail carrier now and it provides a great chance to get to know someone new.
  • Compliments on post-its at the gym’s childcare center.  My boys look forward to going to the child care center at our gym.  It is really easy to write out a couple of brief thank you and compliments on post-its before we go inside.  Once inside, the boys are in charge of giving those compliments out.  We’ve expanded this to giving compliments to the employees at the grocery store, the nurses at the doctor’s office, and referees at sporting events.
  • Chilled water or hot cocoa for the school’s crossing guard.  Our crossing guard just grins so wide when he sees my four year coming along with something for him.  An easy way to give to someone who watches out for the children he helps each day.

 

Strategy 2:  A  50%-In House and 50%-In Community Rule for service. 

Too many service acts in a row at the house: The boys lost sight of how service brings joy to others, the connection to people was too far away.  Too many service acts in a row in the community: The boys started to get tired with the effort of meeting new people and being in new situations.  In 2013, we have started to make sure that 50% of the time we work on service acts at our house and 50% of the time we are in the community serving.  This is a nice way to keep motivation going without getting too tired.

“In the House”  Service Ideas

“In the Community” Service Ideas

Strategy 3:  Use books and videos more frequently to learn about service.   

I found that the most common word they used to describe their service acts was “Good.”   Using books focused on service and kindness helps with vocabulary development and allows the chance to “pause” a service act and discuss what is going on in the story or video.  This allows me to remove the distractions that are around us and focus on a concept about service.  The act of reading a book or watching a video isn’t a service act in itself, but it provides a way to build knowledge that will help with service acts that are completed later.

Movies and Videos about Service on Pinterest

Books and Articles on Serving and Being Nice on Pinterest

Strategy 4:  Recognize and celebrate the influence that service has on my boys.  
Just like the ebbs and flows of any routine, there are some weeks that serving each day is more difficult than others.  For sure, when we get sick is the hardest time to think about service.  Recognizing and celebrating the good that comes from serving fuels our motivation to keep serving each day.
My youngest, the 4 year old, has changed over the past couple of months.  Gone are the days where he would inquire about himself first.  He is always asking about others now.  In the past week, I recognized 3 distinct times when I saw the influence of serving in what he was doing.
  • At our favorite burger hangout, he poured out peanuts in containers for everyone (including the guy sitting at the next table) before he sat down to have his own peanuts.
  • His most commonly spoken phrase these days:  You are AMAZNG!
  • While out on the town when his older brother is in school, he always asks to “get one” for his brother, whether it is a drink, a snack, or picking flowers.  Although his brother is not with him, my four year old constantly thinks of his brother and his welfare first.

This recognition helps me remember the great things that come from taking a little time each day to help someone else.  I have seen how powerful serving with my children can be.  Others that serve deliberately with their children have seen similar positive influences  on their children.  No matter how often you serve, each time a child serves, it touches them and helps them grow.  I am learning that serving with my boys doesn’t have to be hard.  So far, serving in 2013 using my Easy Peasy Plan is working!

 

Sheila used to teach special education classes and focused on reaching students that are at-risk.  She has an undergraduate and graduate degree that focuses on teaching and learning. Sheila now shares experiences of serving with her young boys at Pennies of Time.  She can be found on Pinterest and Twitter.  Join others talking about how to serve with their children on Facebook.
I love that Sheila is making this a focus of her parenting.  I mean, as a mom I try to naturally instill the values of compassion and service in my children, but I think it is often forgotten in our daily lives.  But Sheila has some great tips for making it easy to implement service into my kids’ like.  What an inspiration! 
Do you do service projects with your kids?  How do you teach them compassion and empathy for others? 

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About Krissy Sherman Bonning

Krissy Sherman Bonning is a former art teacher turned homeschooling mama of 3 who authors B-Inspired Mama to share inspiration for simple kids crafts, family recipes, learning fun, and creative parenting.

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