Serve Others | Day Six

"So if we want to raise kids that are happy and healthy, 
one of the best things we can do is teach them to be kind." ~Christine Carter

Altruism is linked to mental, physical and emotional well-being among adults and children. Giving to others, helping out, being thoughtful of a friends' needs, will help provide that long-lasting happiness that we want for our children. It's a "happy habit".

I've thought about this a lot...made lists...tried to make plans...and then I remember that I still have a two-year-old. ;p But we have done a few things {when I say we, I mostly mean me, but it's all about leading by example, right?} -- making food for moms with new babies, donating toys and clothes to the thrift store, taking cookies to friends...just because.

And then my husband reminds me that even the smallest things, like moving the worms from the street back to the grass, are teaching children to be helpful and kind.

So, we model service. We encourage helpfulness. {I've been asking my boys for little favors..."would you go get my water bottle, please?" "would you be able to close that door?" -- they feel good about themselves!} And we expose them to need.

Peter was surprised that not all mommies get to stay home with their kids all day. We discussed this on the first day of preschool when I encouraged him to be friendly and help other children if they are shy or scared {to help him get his mind off his own nervousness!}. The interesting thing was that he didn't know other children had needs. He has no concept of children in foreign countries without clean water or food. So we {gently} expose him to need and teach him compassion for others.

I'm still working on my list, but here's what I've got so far. I'd love to hear your ideas too!

Service Activities with Kids:
humane society -- volunteer to play with or walk the animals
food delivery
pick up litter
diaper drive
plant trees
saving worms
writing letters to missionary kids or a sponsored child
visiting the elderly
Operation Christmas Child
make art for people
donate clothing/toys
read stories about serving others
random acts of kindness {Operation Nice has fun ideas}

I love this video -- someone delivering 30 gifts on their 30th birthday -- to random people!!

And since the holidays are around the corner...
Christine Carter, Ph.D. talks with Rona Renner, R.N. about Holiday Traditions that Raise Happiness in this podcast {if you have some time [11:07]...give it a listen}. I agree that gifts provide something closer to gratification {usually short term} and we can't really call that happiness. But family traditions and shared experiences that make memories -- definitely long-term happy.

So -- let's do the helpful thing and help our children learn helpfulness. ;p Cause helpful children are happy children.
And that's helpful.

Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series, 31 Days to Happier Children.