Sunday, April 28, 2013

Involving Young Children in Compassion International

Michelle over at Blogging From the Boonies has started a blog link-up this month about how to involve our kids in Compassion International. Sometimes with really young kids (mine is 2.5), it's really hard to know how to get started. In fact, sometimes it's just hard to get dressed and get breakfast on the table, much less try to do something for someone else in a meaningful way that touches the heart of your child.

Children seem to be easily and naturally compassionate, to me, and capable of understanding more that we give credit for. They also have a "can-do" spirit that means they aren't afraid to give things a try. It's a great time to get kids involved!

With my young son, I mostly try to impart a sense of cultural diversity to him by giving him the chance to try new things. Compassion makes this SO easy by providing the free printable (and hard copy) Explorer magazine. Though it is really targeted at older kids, my son still gets a lot out of the activities and pictures. We take the magazine and look through it, and pick out one or two things we'd like to try.

In one issue there were instructions for making a homemade soccer ball out of plastic bags and twine. We did, and my son still plays with it months later! We have practiced carrying plastic produce in baskets on our heads, and two days ago we pulled out our Explorer magazine and made a featured cake, Tres Leches, together. We listened to Mariachi music and ate nachos and talked about our Compassion child in Guatemala (okay, so the article in the magazine was about Mexico, but it was as close as we could get).

Besides the magazine, we also pray daily for our Compassion kids at dinner time as a family, and we have the pictures of our kids hanging at eye level for our son, so that he can see who they are. We read their letters to him, and he draws pictures for us to send them on occasion. I also ordered him a special shirt from the Compassion store, and involve him in my advocacy efforts.

In an attempt to come up with another way to involve him in correspondence, I developed some Sponsor Writing Templates for very young children--you can see them here:Letter Writing Templates for Young Children

I am committed to teaching my son the value of compassion for others, and I hope that by doing so I will foster a sense of social responsibility--and have fun in the meantime!!

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