There is so much value in teaching a child to be helpful to others. It helps them realize that there is more to this life than just them. It helps them learn to put someone else’s needs above their own. Teaching a child to help you and others is something that will ultimately help them throughout their whole life.
Take advantage of your child’s curiosity and their need to please.
When my daughter sees me open the dryer door, she is instantly intrigued. “Mommy, I help,” she says. Of course, I use this as an opportunity for her to learn about doing laundry. At only two years old, she is so interested in what I’m making for supper each night. I bought a kitchen helper stand so she can be at eye level with what I’m doing, as well as help when it is safe to do so. This instills the desire for your child to help because they are always wanting to mimic what we do.
Give them clear instructions and show them how to do each task.
In general, children are ready to help; they just need some guidance on how to help. Show them how to wipe up a mess on the floor. Show them how to fill the dog food bowl. My daughter looks for ways to help us. I will ask her to take something to my husband and vice-versa and she is on it! If something falls on the floor, she instantly picks it up for us. Children are very teachable at any age, but especially when they are young.
Be an example to your children.
Show them what you want them to do by helping others yourself. It’s very hard to convince your child to act a certain way when they see you doing the opposite. Children are sponges, so they are watching and listening to everything we do. If you hold the door open for someone or pick something up that someone else drops, your child will more than likely try to imitate you.
Make it enjoyable to help you and others.
Give your child praise for doing something nice for you, a family member, or a perfect stranger. You don’t have to give them a physical reward for doing for others, but a simple “thank you” goes a long way! Reinforcing good deeds encourages them to continue with the same behavior in the future.