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Ways We’ve Incorporated Volunteering into Our Lives- With a Toddler

As a stay at home mom, I would LOVE to be doing volunteer activities. Not only do I have the time, I’d love to be exposing my daughter to the world of volunteering, and teaching her all of the valuable life lessons that come along with it. Unfortunately, with a toddler in tow, there are very few volunteer activities that I can do. Most opportunities have age limits, and when it comes down to it, I’d need my hands toddler free to get the work done. We have had luck finding a few things to do, however.

1. I’ve asked Caroline to volunteer her time for a good cause
On two separate occasions, we’ve taken the time to donate to local pediatric units at our hospitals. The first time, Caroline was young, but old enough to understand. We collected donations through the use of this blog, added in funds ourselves, and went shopping. Ordering items online would have been super easy, but I wanted Caroline to see the process. We went shopping the good old fashioned way, and Caroline helped find all of the items on the wishlist provided by the hospital. We then delivered the items as a family to the hospital.

The second time, I was actually partaking in a MOMS Club event. They’d used funds from the club to purchase coloring books, bubbles, and crayons. Caroline helped bag up individual gifts for children in the hospital.

This is by far the easiest way to have toddler’s volunteer. It may not be an official volunteer activity, but volunteering their time is just as valuable and can lead to wonderful topics being discussed.

2. We’ve gotten to volunteer for real
I’ve only been able to find one activity that was age appropriate for her- puppy petting! Yes you read that right! There is a local organization here called Warrior Canine Connection. This is a fabulous organization that connects warriors with dogs! Some warriors benefit from being around the dogs as trainers, and others (wounded warriors) benefit from the use of service dogs. Our role was to help socialize the puppies. We spent 1 hour with the puppies just exposing them to us- to being picked up, pet, played with, being around children, etc. It was a fantastic way to volunteer, and led to some fun conversations with my daughter.

3. We visited a pediatrics unit at a local hospital
In order to help close the loop and see where her efforts went, when Caroline helped to make the donation gift bags for children in the hospital, I thought it would be a great idea to go see the hospital. I wanted her to see not only where her efforts went, but to see what the hospital is, learn about what they do there, and that it is a GOOD, happy place. All of those goals were achieved. We had the honor of connecting with a couple of nurses and a doctor for a wonderful visit. We asked, and they answered! They gave the children play time in their wonderful playroom, they had a doctor come visit and show them some doctor tools and explain what they are used for, and they took us on a tour of the pediatrics unit. Caroline got to go into the rooms and see the hospital bed, bathroom, info boards, machines, etc. It was such a wonderful experience, and we got to make some great contacts at the hospital. I hope to set up some volunteer activities with them as the opportunity presents itself.

I am always looking for more ways to volunteer with my daughter (who’s 2.5). If you have any ideas, I’d LOVE to hear them!

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