EXPECTATION: Happily serving along with your kids, maybe packing meals, sorting shoes, or coloring cards. Everyone is joyful and serving with a good attitude and a helpful heart.
REALITY: Short attention spans, urgent snack cravings, and cases of the “gimmes” (you know, when your kids want to keep all the things you’re there to give away).
LOVE Week is right around the corner, but if the thought of serving with your kids makes you hesitant or anxious, we understand! We’ve experienced the struggle of serving with kids, but we also know there is a great reward!
There’s so much value in making volunteering a part of your family’s rhythm. Here are a few ways to make service a positive experience for your family:
- Start with conversations. Talk to your kids about why you’re serving and what you’ll be doing while you’re there. Give them lots of time to ask questions so they know what to expect!
- Be prepared. Even if you’re past the diaper bag phase, pack a small bag with snacks and small toys or books for when (not if!) your kids need a break. Don’t be shy about using them as incentives! (“Once you help me pack seven hygiene kits, you can take a break and eat your fruit snacks!”)
- Know what to expect for your child. Kids can participate in different ways at different ages. Use this chart to manage your expectations and help your child engage at an age-appropriate level.
- Fight to stay positive! We all want our children to love serving, and if their early experiences seem stressful instead of enjoyable, that positive association is difficult to cultivate later. Keep your tone and facial expressions upbeat, and when you see that your kids are approaching their limits, know that it’s okay to make an early exit!
We can’t wait to see you at our family-friendly LOVE Week events! Head over to events.elevationoutreach.com and click on the “Family Friendly” button to find events in your area and sign up to serve.