I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Kids can help

on July 24, 2013

broomIsn’t it crazy that when kids are very small they want to help you with everything, but when they are old enough to actually be some help, they don’t want to anymore?   This is probably because we have trained them NOT to want to help.   What?  Yes, we often train our children to avoid helping by not taking the time to teach them responsibility.

Children naturally want to be involved with everything their parents and siblings are doing.  They are curious and they want to learn.  If we are cleaning or cooking, they will try to get right in there and help.  Even though they aren’t physically or mentally ready to do most things, they still want to try.   This is a necessary and important part of their learning process.

However, when  children get in our way, especially when they are small, we tend to push them aside and tell them they can’t help.  We say things like, “You are too small, you will get hurt, you can’t do this, you don’t know how, go and play, leave mommy (or daddy) alone.”  When my children were small, I didn’t often allow them to help out when they showed an interest, because it took too long and I wanted things done quickly and properly.  Then I wondered why they didn’t help around the house when they got older.

When children are small, of course they are unable to help very much, but this is the perfect time to start teaching them.  If you push a child aside, they will feel that you aren’t interested in them and that they have no value.  This can have a huge effect on their confidence and esteem and when they get older, they won’t want to bother helping because they don’t know how, they feel it is a waste of their time or they just expect you to do everything for them.

My grandson is just 2 years old and we let him help us with lots of things like vacuuming, watering the flowers and cooking.  He follows us around asking to help.  When my husband waters the plants in our garden, my grandson picks up his little watering can and goes with him.  He gets more water on the ground than on the plants but he is so happy with his accomplishments and grandpa always tells him how helpful he is.  Last week when I was making a cake, he came in the kitchen and said, “up”.  I picked him up and sat him on the counter beside the bowl.  Then I let him hold the beaters with me and mix the cake batter.  After that, he helped me pour the cake into a pan.  Then I put him down and he wanted to help me put the pan in the oven.   At this point, I had to tell him NO because it was a safety factor.  I explained that the oven was hot and that he might get burnt, so he had to wait until he was 0lder before he could cook anything in the oven or on top of the stove.  But I did tell him that I appreciated his help.  Then later when we ate the cake, I told everyone how much he helped me and he gave us all a big proud smile.

If you want to help your child build esteem and feel confident in their abilities, let them help you with the chores as much as possible and tell them how much you appreciate them.  It may take longer and even frustrate you, but it is well worth the time you spend because it will form a close parent/child bond and it will teach your child to become a responsible adult.   When you just don’t have the time for them to help, at least explain that this time you have to do it yourself, but that you are looking forward to having them help you again because you really appreciate them for being part of your family.

5 responses to “Kids can help

  1. Professions for PEACE says:

    Fantastic! This is so true – let them help! It builds confidence and a stronger sense of self worth, wonderful attributes that will help them all their lives. You have a delightful family. Thanks so much for sharing! Hugs, Gina

    • imconfident says:

      Thanks. I’ve learned how important it is to help children build esteem. Since many parents don’t have good esteem themselves, as I didn’t, they can’t teach their children something that they don’t know. I wish that the schools had some mandatory subjects that would teach children how to build esteem and learn how to communicate effectively.

      • Professions for PEACE says:

        Thanks for this great reply. That is so true – if only school aged children could learn self-esteem in the curriculum! Also I wish education for ‘how to parent’ was easily available for all parents of young ones.

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