This is a guest post by my friend Angela from Homeschool Innovation.

Children are natural born helpers.

From the time they are very small they are watching everything we do, and they want to be like us.

Think of your baby in the high chair learning to eat on her own. Once she gets the hang of it, she starts to offer to feed you. Your toddler follows you around the house constantly and offers to help with cooking, feeding the baby, doing the dishes, or running the vacuum. Even your older children like to help out, although they usually offer to help with something more exciting than the dishes.

 

Teaching Kids to Help Others via www.RaisingLifelongLearners

 

My kids couldn’t wait to be old enough to help cut the grass, or do an oil change. They will still help with other chores, but those “big kid” chores are always the ones they choose first.

 

Kids want to be helpful, valued and loved.

 

If we, as parents and adults, model how to be helpful in our daily lives, they will naturally do the same.

When children are young and eagerly want to help you, try:

  • giving them the chance to do a job.
  • being thankful for their help.
  • not to re-do the job.

That last one can be a struggle for those who like things to be done a certain way, but it is so important.

If you go around re-doing all the jobs your child has done for you, it sends the message that the effort they happily and willingly just put in for you isn’t valued. Soon a cycle can start where, as they grow older, they’ll do less and less for you.

There have been many times where my linen closet has had towels folded into unrecognizable geometric shapes shoved onto the shelves, instead of the neat stacks I prefer.

Raising Helpful Kids Quote by Angela Hoffman via www.RaisingLifelongLearners.com

 

I always show my kids that I am thankful for their help. We can find another day when we are all folding towels together for me to help them learn how to fold better; but for now, they helped me clean up when I was pressed for time.

That effort is worth all my praise, and for them to feel valued and proud of their helpfulness.

This is a step toward raising helpful kids to become helpful adults who are empathetic contributors to society.

 

Ideas for How Kids Can Help In Your Community

Next, find opportunities for your children to be helpful outside of your home; again, you are their model. Be sure you are their living example of how to be kind and helpful in your community.

  • Hold doors
  • Help at Food Bank
  • Take any books left out on library tables to the librarian
  • Help neighbours on vacation by collecting mail, or watering their garden
  • Pick up garbage at the park (gloves are a good idea as well as talking about what is appropriate to pick up)
  • Help out your friends (my kids help their friends when bike chains fall off, or help them up when they fall)
  • Collect bottles and cans left out and donate the money
  • Write someone a handwritten note
  • Kids in sports can offer to help out their clubs with any events they are hosting
  • Include others – if there are a group of kids playing a game and one on-looker, go offer to teach them how to play
  • Animal shelters always need help
  • If you go to church, sign up as a family to be greeters or offer to help serve coffee and cookies after service
  • Have your kids help you make a meal or a few snacks for a family with a new baby
  • Help out a friend with their chores
  • Offer a friend a kind word if they are sad

To help guide your children as they set out to help others, hone in on your child’s interests and passions. A passionate reader will likely feel comfortable helping the librarian. Your  budding chef will be more than willing to help you prepare a meal for a family in need. Your aspiring veterinarian will jump at the chance to help out at the local animal shelter.

Remember, Even the smallest of hands can be helpful and the smallest of gestures can make the biggest differences in someone else’s life.

This post is part of our 31 Days of Raising Kind Kids series. Make sure you don’t miss a post by subscribing to our weekly newsletter  and by bookmarking the index page where all of the links for the coming 31 days and any other post {past or future} about kindness is archived.

 

Raising Kind Kids - a 31 Day Series from www.RaisingLifelongLearners.com

 

Angela Hoffman of Homeschool Innovations

 

Angela Hoffman is a coffee loving, blue jean wearing homeschooling mom who is into innovative learning!  Find her at Home School Innovation where she offers tips, tactics, and techniques to encourage you on your homeschool journey.

Colleen Kessler

Colleen is an explorer, tinkerer, educator, writer, creator, and a passionate advocate for the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children. She has a B.S. in elementary education, a M.Ed. in gifted studies, is a sought-after national speaker and educational consultant, and is the founder of the popular blog and podcast Raising Lifelong Learners, as well as Raising Poppies, a community of support for parents of gifted children. She lives in northeast Ohio with her four bright and quirky kiddos, patient husband, and ever-changing collection of small reptiles, mammals, and insects.

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