Often I think of my preschooler as a busy, little human frantically spinning from one activity to the next leaving a trail of Littlest Pet Shop toys and Polly Pockets in her wake. However, Kristen Summers sees preschoolers in a much different light. Kristen views preschoolers as completely capable (and usually willing) to serve others.
In fact, in Kristen’s book, Teach Me to Serve: 99 Ways Preschoolers Can Learn to Serve and Bless Others, Kristen details fun and practical ways parents can encourage kids to become more others-focused. Recently, I caught up with Kristen, and she graciously answered a few questions about her book.
What do you say to parents who claim preschoolers are too young to participate in service activities?
Kristen: I know it can be hard to motivate this age to serve. What parent wants to force their self-focused preschooler to help? But starting early and making service toward others a priority is important.
And while serving at this age often requires work and effort on the part of mom and dad, you can keep it simple and incorporate acts of service in your everyday living. That was one of my hopes with this ebook: to provide many ideas that parents can weave into their normal day. It becomes a change of perspective.
The blessing to parents who make this a priority is that not only will they see growth but they will see the thrill their preschooler gets when they help others.
One of our daughter’s favorite ways to serve in the home is Idea #1: Let your child serve dinner buffet style. Any kid favorites in your home?
Kristen: My kids love to pick flowers for someone else (#40). They have become regular about praying for the injured person when they see an ambulance (#47). And while serving someone else dinner like a waiter initially met with resistance, they now enjoy it and even get excited about it (#2).
Do you have any favorite reads encouraging service in children?
Kristen: As I mentioned in the ebook, one of my favorite “serving” books for children is Ronnie Wilson’s Gift, by Francis Chan. I am moved to tears each time we read it!