Are you looking for ways to introduce service to your toddlers? My cousin, Melissa, is here today sharing several ways she involves her toddler in community service and volunteer activities. Melissa, who works in the service field, connecting people internationally to bring about change and improve lives. She is sharing this post in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, and National Day of Service.
So how do I encourage service in my 2 year old? Honestly, by being enthusiastic and then doing most of the work myself. Because 2 year olds can do a lot, but they don’t really understand why yet.
Here’s what we do:
- Make cards. Our neighbor passed away this year, so Sofi helped me make a card for his wife, and helped me deliver it.
- Make treats. I think she actually enjoyed giving cookies to our neighbors this holiday. It was like Halloween in reverse. She walked up to the door and willingly gave treats instead of taking them. Then wanted to do it again!
- Food and clothing donations. I decide what we’ll donate and Sofi puts it in the box. I repeat messages about helping hungry kids, but I don’t think she quite gets it yet. The food still gets donated though!
- Bringing her out to meet people. Honestly, one of the huge benefits of international service is building relationships across borders so that people build understanding and collaboration. So it seems a little silly, but just bringing her meet international visitors here in DC is important. Who won’t like Americans a little better after meeting my adorable red head? Am I right? She’s only 2, but she’s a citizen diplomat.
MLK day is a national day of service because the best way to honor a man who dedicated his life to service is to promote service in every one. I have worked with international volunteers from many different countries and the one thing I hear from them consistently is how impressed they are with Americans’ sense of service. So do something, even if its small, and even if you have a 2 year old in tow.
And if you want a lot more info on the National Day of Service check out www.serve.gov for resources.
If you want more baby and toddler play ideas, check out Zero to Two: the book of play, an e-book I co-authored! It’s includes 25 step-by-step tutorials with pictures, as well as links to over 50 more ways to play with babies and toddlers – all for $8.99.