Updated on May 8, 2013
I mentioned in the first post of this series that helping out with hospitality can be a great benefit and blessing to our children as they learn to serve others. There are several ways you can get your kids involved in getting ready for people to come over:
It’s an obvious one, and one the kids are usually the least excited about. I often remind my children as we are cleaning for company, that by helping to get the house ready, they are serving, not only serving others, but serving the Lord. After hearing that, they are usually more enthused about helping out.
2. Meal Preparations
Even if your children are too young to actually do some of the cooking or baking, you could have them gather ingredients out of the fridge or utensils out of the drawer. I do this with my younger kids who want to “help” in the kitchen. They are always excited to hand me things I need, it makes them feel so big and helpful.
3. Setting The Table
Children can set the table and even add their own special touches like name place cards or flowers. One of my daughters loves to pick wildflowers that are growing around our property and put them in vases on the table. I can see she has a real knack for it. I can also use the opportunity to encourage her that God has really gifted her in that area.
How To Get Things Ready With Little Ones
1. Take Advantage of Nap Time
When my older ones were too little to help, I would clean while they were napping. It’s amazing how much I could get done in those 2 hours.
2. End of the Day
If you don’t have an end of the day routine with your little ones, you can have them play in a room with some toys or books that are easy to clean up, or put in a favorite video for them to watch. Having the kids occupied with something that will keep them busy for a while will help as you finish up last minute things.
3. Be Patient
When it is 4pm, guests are coming at 5pm, you are trying to finish up dinner, the kitchen is a mess, and you just discover your 3 year old was using toothpaste to paint the bathroom vanity, it is easy to get frustrated and upset. There have been times things have been crazy and stressful getting ready for company and I start getting short with my kids.
Being impatient with our children while preparing to be hospitable can leave a bad taste in our children’s mouths for hospitality and even for the things of the Lord.
The comedian Mark Lowry did a skit once about his mom yelling at him and his brother, then the phone rang, she answers the phone with a sweet, friendly voice. It was funny because people can relate to the hypocrisy parents sometimes fall into, but, our children can see it plain as day and it has a tremendous affect on how they view us and how they view Christ.
So, no matter how crazy things may get before company comes over, we need to make every effort to not get impatient with our kids.
I know it can be a temptation to do all of the work yourself, it is usually much easier and faster that way. However, doing so can deprive our children of wonderful opportunities to serve, and discover specific ways God has gifted them to bless others.
Join us tomorrow for our final post in this series. If you missed the other posts, you can read them here.
How do you involve your kids in preparing for guests? Do you have other ideas on how to get ready with little ones in the house?