There are certain times, during the holiday season and otherwise, when families you know might need a little extra caring. When new babies are born, or when someone is caring for a sick child, or has just experienced loss…these are all times when a thoughtful card, a homemade meal, or an act of service is particularly welcome. The problem is, sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few tips that can assist you when you’re wanting to help a family in need.
5 Tips For Helping a Family in Need
There are many times when families might need a little extra help, and there are plenty of ways to pitch in, but sometimes it’s a little tricky knowing how. Here are some tips to help you on your way!
1. Be specific
I have had plenty of people ask me “Is there anything I can do for you?” when we’ve gone through a challenging time, and especially right after I had our daughter. The truth is, most people don’t want to tell you specifically what need, because it feels uncomfortable. My response was most often, “Oh, thanks! We’re OK” or “I’ll let you know.” But, when people were specific, I always accepted their offers. Always ask about specific ways to help. Asking, “When can I bring you a meal?”…”Can I take your little one to the zoo so you can rest?” or “Can I come do some laundry for you?” will most likely be met with a resounding yes.
2. Think of what YOU might need
Put yourself in the shoes of the family you want to help. What are some things you might need in that situation? With new moms, I always offer to bring over a meal and also come bearing easy meals and snacks that they can eat throughout the day. If a family has multiple children and one of them is ill, offer to take the other child(ren) so they can have a day of fun and mom and dad can have a break. Sometimes the littlest things mean the most.
3. Ask a mutual friend
If you’re feeling stumped for how to help a family in need, try asking a mutual friend who is close to them for suggestions. You will likely get a laundry list of good ideas.
4. Be flexible
Families that are going through big changes or challenging situations aren’t always going to be super organized in the midst of whatever they’re going through. Try to be flexible about when you can drop by, or with the services you are offering. It will be much appreciated.
5. Drop and go
This suggestion definitely depends on the family you are bringing something to, but as a general rule, I would say plan to “drop and go” when you’re leaving something for a family in need. If they are going through a stressful situation, they likely don’t feel up to entertaining at the moment and having someone hang around for hours. Don’t let it make you feel bad — your gesture will be much appreciated, and I’m sure they will connect with you when things get a little easier.