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Meet a Mama with a Heart for Service, Ashley Bohanan!

 

Ashley is a mom of two sweet boys living in Oregon. She has her personal blog, Look for Little Helpers, and is executive director of Little Hands Can, a nonprofit organization inspiring and empowering little hands to make a world of difference, so there is no better mama to help us start these conversations of service with our kids! She struggled with finding opportunities for little kids (babies and toddlers) to be involved with giving back and recognizing that they too can make a difference, and then she found Little Can Hands which has completely changed her family. Ashley says they are kinder, more caring, and more connected to their community because they spend time out in it helping! She is FULL of ideas that are both simple and totally realistic for teaching us how to have conversations with our kids about not only how to give back to others and the community, but why it’s important. Today’s episode is all about those little things we can do that are impactful to others, but are also realistic with our busy schedules….especially during the holidays.

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SHOW SPONSOR:

My Holiday Family Traditions Guide is ready and waiting for you! It is filled with every little moment, tradition, experience, and activity I do, did in my own childhood, or plan to do during the holiday season with my kids. I outline these all start to finish, encouraging you and setting your mind as ease when it comes to creating a magical season. This is a guide you’ll look back on year after year as you continue to create lifelong holiday memories and traditions with your loved ones. 

Grab your guides here!

It Starts with Kindness

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? is a book Ashley recommended right from the start because she believes that these acts of service first start with a conversation about kindness, Have You Filled a Bucket helps kids recognize that everyone has a bucket to be filled with nice things (acts of kindness), and then understanding that it feels just as good to fill a bucket as it does to get ours filled. You can start with your own home, with a mason jar and pom balls, and start filling their “buckets” with a pom ball when they do something kind. Really make a point in pointing this out. “You helped your brother, you held the door for your teacher, you complimented my hair and I liked it, etc.”

Your Kids’ Interests 

 This part of our interview was SO good because it’s so obvious and I have never even thought about it! What are your kids into? Play to that. If you kid loves animals, you can make homemade treats for the local animal shelter, or if they dig fire trucks, make cookies and color pictures for the firefighters in your community. Start where they are interested, which makes it more engaging for them!

 

Giving Back During the Holidays

31 Day Kindness Challenge

Each day was a simple act of kindness. Smiling at 5 people, holding the door for a friend, or the genius idea of stocking up on some Dollar Store toys and handing them out to kids in carts at the stores with their moms.  This is reminding the kids of the season of giving and how meaningful it is to give vs. receive.  Service doesn’t need to be for an organization or cause, it could also be showing kindness. I LOVED that because it instantly made me feel less overwhelmed about teaching these values to my kids. I can also do both of these things in a very realistic way!

Another cool tip Ashley shared was to show a YouTube video of families receiving gifts or food to your kids so they can put some faces to the act of service. This grounds the act and makes it more real for them,

On Ashley’s blog she has a full Kindness Challenge broken down by each day! Go check it out!

Dob’t Forget Your Community!

Baking cookies for your neighbors, the mailman, milk man, etc.

Handing out toys to kids in the grocery store- make someone’s day!

Give to a giving tree or donate to the food bank (show those videos!)

Write thank you notes to people in your life (teachers, service members, nursing home)

This episode is SO full of tips, ideas, and ways to start getting your kids, no matter what age they are, involved in giving back to their community. We also talk about teaching empathy and compassion in a way kids can grasp, how to get started with larger service projects by tuning into kid’s feelings and interests, and thinking of others when we are out and about.

The goal: make this realistic for you. Pick one thing to try and then add to it. What can you make a routine? What can you continue

Book Recommendations (great holiday gift along with the mason jar and pom balls!):

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

One Good Deed

You, Me and Empathy

The Ezra Jack Keats books

Ada Twist Scientist

A Piece of Home

Max and the Tagalong Moon

Last House on Market Street

Peace is an Offering 

All The World

Parent Resources:

Ashley did a 3 part blog series on the psychology behind serving and giving. You can check it out with the links below!

Part 1 Why Kids Should Volunteer:  https://lookforlittlehelpers.com/2018/01/08/why-children-should-volunteer/

Part 2 How to Inspire a Giving Heart From Toddlerhood On:   https://lookforlittlehelpers.com/2018/01/15/how-to-inspire-a-giving-heart/

Part 3 Ultimate LIST of Service Projects for Kids: https://lookforlittlehelpers.com/2018/01/23/service-projects-for-kids/

The Greater Good Magazine

Blogs:

The Corner on Character

Pennies of Time (community service blog for family projects)

World Changing Kids

Go connect with Ashley and say hi!

Personal Blog: Look For Little Helpers

Little Hands Can

Instagram

Facebook

SHOW SPONSOR:

My Holiday Family Traditions Guide is ready and waiting for you! It is filled with every little moment, tradition, experience, and activity I do, did in my own childhood, or plan to do during the holiday season with my kids. I outline these all start to finish, encouraging you and setting your mind as ease when it comes to creating a magical season. This is a guide you’ll look back on year after year as you continue to create lifelong holiday memories and traditions with your loved ones. 

Grab your guides here!

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Head on over to my free Facebook group, Memories in Moments Insiders! There you’ll find additional resources to support each episode, more information on guests and how you can connect with them, visual and video tutorials, and best of all, connection as we navigate parenting and making memories together!

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