Thursday, June 5, 2014

Involving Your Small Children in Child Sponsorship by Hannah Hinojosa

I am a mom of young children—2 years and 2 months. I have many dreams of how to involve my kids in child sponsorship: an international night once a week with food from the country and prayer requests; creating a map of the world with photos of our kids; having my kids write to their Compassion siblings. But the reality is that my kids are a little young for those activities. So I thought I’d share what I’m doing currently with my kids!

A photo album of our Compassion family: I got one of those small, inexpensive photo albums with 4x6 sleeves and filled it with photos of our sponsored kids. My two-year-old son, Juanito, loves going through the album with me. We talk about each child’s name, what kind of shoes each child is wearing, and what color shirt each child is wearing and other topics like that! Because we do this on a regular basis, he knows about half the kids’ names (which amounts to about 12!). Juanito loves pulling out his photo album and even brings it to church.

Praying for our Compassion kids: Juanito loves to pray for whatever is on his mind…if we were watching Kung Fu Panda, he wants to pray for the panda and monkey and tiger. If we spend time with his grandparents, aunts or uncles, he wants to pray for each one of them. If we have spent time talking about the kids, Juanito wants to pray for the Compasison kids! We have been praying for the Compassion kids at mealtimes even before Juanito could talk and now he enjoys helping us list names of our children.

Artwork for the Compassion kids: Juanito is a prolific artist. He is constantly drawing and painting. We have artwork coming out of our ears! But he also enjoys giving his drawings away, so I have him look through his photo album and he chooses which child he wants to send his drawings to. Sometimes I have to make executive decisions and not give all 5 to Tresor (who is very popular in Juanito’s eyes currently…maybe it’s the yellow shirt?), but I like that Juanito is playing a part.

“Writing” to Compassion kids: Occasionally I will sit down to write a letter to a specific child and will ask Juanito to help. Last week, while I wrote to Jhomary, Juanito sat down and “wrote” with a pen to Jhomary also. It’s the same idea as sending artwork, but as Juanito gets older and starts actually writing, the kids can get letters in addition to drawings.

Reading letters together: I like to sit down with both kids to read the letters. Juanito really enjoys looking at the drawings (as does baby Rosie, if the drawings are bright colored). I am then able to include a note in my letters to the kids sharing how much my children enjoyed their drawing! Some of the Comopassion kids will in turn write a short note for my children.

Watching Compassion videos or looking at photos: Sometimes Juanito and I will watch Compassion videos together or look through photos that Compassion has. I don’t think he notices that much right now, but it’s sometime I want to continue to do once he understands a little more. He really enjoys seeing photos and videos of kids!

My goal is to make Compassion sponsorship part of our family life-style and I figured that it’s never too early to start! I hope that you’ll be able to find some of these ideas helpful and I would love to hear what you do to include your small children in sponsorship.

About Hannah Hinojosa...Hannah is a long time Compassion sponsor and writes about her sponsorship journey at Because of Shamim. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is a part-time math professor and loves to read.

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