Friday, November 17, 2006

Help Plan Your Child's New Year Good Deeds

It is so important to teach our children to give freely of themselves and to be thankful for the blessings bestowed upon them. But how do we teach them, keep track of the events and be prepared in time?

Create an Annual Children’s Good Deeds Calendar!

Take a brand new calendar for the new year. Go through the calendar with your children and circle the date of a holiday or just select an appropriate date each month and decide on a good deed that, with a little help from you, your child can easily perform. If your children are having trouble coming up with their own ideas, here are some suggestions:

January - It’s a New Year with New Babies in Need! - Call your local hospital and find out what articles they take for donation of babies born to low income families and infants going out for adoption. When my husband and I adopted my son (abandoned by his birth Mom), we were given a lovely hand knitted cap for the baby. Your children can select (from a dollar store) some baby bibs, caps, sleepers, pacifiers, teething rings, etc. If your children are older, you can help them make some appropriate items. Select a day in the 1st week of the new year to deliver your items to the hospital.

February - Valentine's Day - So many of our older citizens are alone in nursing homes during the month of love. Your children can show these folks they are loved! Call a nursing home to make arrangements, spend an hour visiting with the elders and distributing handmade Valentine’s Day cards.

March - The 1st Day of Spring - I’m sure you know a neighbor or family member who could use a little help in the garden. If not call your local county for information on a program in your area that beautifies the neighborhood. Plant a few flowers and do some weeding to brighten the way!

April - Easter - Let your child share the true meaning of Easter with friends at an Easter party. Mom reads the story from a children’s Bible. Then each child is assigned to draw one part of the Easter story. 1. The Last Supper, 2. Christ praying to God in Gethsemane, 3. Christ with a crown of thorns, 4. Christ carrying the cross, 5. Christ on the cross, 6. Jesus rising from the tomb. Each child draws their assigned picture six times with crayons or markers on construction paper. Then the children all share their pages and create their own book with a hole puncher and yarn ties. Then the children sit in a circle and each child gets to tell what their part of the story, according to the page they drew, means to them. Of course then you eat lunch and for desert you serve cross shaped Easter candy instead of rabbits and eggs and each child gets to take home their "True Meaning of Easter" book to share with their own family.

May 4th National Day of Prayer - As a family, a few days before, make up a list of people and situations for which the power of prayer can assist our country. Write the prayer together as a family and the children can share it at Sunday school. The prayer can include the president, our servicemen, etc. Say the prayer together as a family at dinner time while holding hands.

June - The 1st Day of Summer - Have a yard/garage sale of all those old toys and things that Mom and Dad don’t use anymore. Donate the proceeds to a favorite charity.

July - Independence Day - Visit a Veteran’s home (make arrangements), bring homemade lemonade and ask the Veteran’s questions. This is a great way for children to learn about the sacrifices our Veteran’s made for our independence.

August 22nd - Be an Angel Day - Your child can be an anonymous Guardian Angel by selecting a good deed to do for someone, completing the task when they are not around, and leaving behind a handmade "Your Guardian Angel is Watching Over You" card behind. The card can be made a head of time but the deed has to be selected on that day. It will be up to your child to recognize and perform the deed. Some examples to get your children thinking are:
1. Lugging the heavy garbage cans from the side of the house to the street for the elderly lady who struggles to do so.
2. Stacking the pile of firewood the delivery man dumped in the driveway neatly beside the house for the elderly gentleman across the street.
3. Making up a picnic basket lunch of non perishables like canned tuna fish, a small loaf of bread, a small jar of mayo, a small jar of pickles and a bottle of juice and leaving it on the doorstep of a family in need.

September - The 1st Day of Autumn - I’m sure you know a neighbor or family member who could use a little help in the yard. If not call your local county for information on a program in your area that beautifies the neighborhood. Rake leaves and pick up debris to brighten the way!

October - Breast Cancer Month - Make pink ribbons to sell at school, church and in the neighborhood and donate the proceeds to breast cancer research or treatment center.

November - Thanksgiving - Have your children write a special thank you letter to someone who did something really nice for them. You child can select a family member, Sunday school teacher or friend. This is a great way to get children really thinking about the blessings bestowed upon them and how important it is to let people know how much you appreciate them.

December - Christmas is for Giving - All year the children fill a special keepsake box with the families pennies. Right before Christmas the children cash the pennies in at the bank for dollar bills Then they buy toys and donate them to Toys for Tots or a similar charity or orphanage.

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