“I raised my boys to be helpers” a mom of three older boys told me when I remarked on how very helpful I’ve seen them be.

And I thought of the intentionality of her words.

Most parents want their children to feel loved, to be respectful, kind, sharing. But – to be helpers- I had never heard that expressed so directly.

Other parents have complained that getting their children to help do anything is like pulling teeth. But maybe the answer is appreciating and starting younger than we think possible.

So don’t dismiss your toddler emptying the grocery bags or putting his boots where they belong as insignificant.  That can grow into your school-aged child sorting socks, folding laundry, setting tables, wiping down the bathroom sink, raking and shoveling snow – together.

A good way to start is remembering that children do love this camaraderie of working within a group – and completing a job  as a team. Want the playroom cleaned up fast?  How about putting on some great music or setting the timer for five minutes and then everyone moving fast – together – to “git ‘er done”?

I’ve heard from parents that it’s more trouble than it’s worth.  It ‘s easier for them to do it themselves. But who said any part of parenting is easy.

It’s all about this “invitation” to help which starts the ball rolling.

Building a sense of achievement – significance -responsibility – and belonging within the family – that’s what being a helper can do.

Want some help?



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