Have you ever been there? Asking your kids to help with some task whether it be cleaning up their mounain of toys, helping with laundry, or clear the table, but all you get is a blank stare. Maybe you don’t even get that- just the kids running off to do whatever pleases them next. Trust me, I’ve been there way more times than I’d like to admit. It can be so hard and frustrating! Then you get into a cycle of asking over and over which gets you even more frustrated before and can lead to a blow up which isn’t good for anyone! How can we avoid something like this in our parenting? How can we get our children to be more willing to help when asked? Here are a few of my quick tips on how to raise helpful kids.
Tips To Raise Helpful Kids
- Modeling. I don’t think I can emphasize this point enough. Children will do as they see, not as their told. So, we can direct them until we are blue in the face, but if they aren’t seeing the people in their lives who are guiding them doing the behavior they are being directed to do, chances are they’re not going to want to do said behavior. So, if I expect my kids to clean up after themselves, I need to model this behavior by cleaning up after myself. If I want them to look for opportunities to be helpful without being asked, I need to do the same. There are times when my children are tired or having a hard day, and I can tell they are struggling to get their stuff picked up. If I offer grace in those moments and help them, they are more willing to be helpful without being asked later on. Model the behavior you want to see in your children. This can apply across the board, not just with helpfulness!
- Make it playful. I don’t know about you, but doing anything in a more playful fashion always makes things better. This goes for adults, too! When it comes to getting the kids to complete a task, using playful methods always seems to get the job done! Of course, playful methods aren’t always able to be used, but try it when you can and see how eager your kids will be to get the job done! One way we incorporate this into our day is when we clean up the living room before bed. We set a timer, put on fun music, and play what we call Race the Clock Clean Up. Everyone chips in, and we run and dance while cleaning up. There’s typically no tears and whining with this clean up because we are having too much fun! Even our 15 month old runs around saying, “Go, go, go!” The kids are always so excited when we beat the timer, and Mom and Dad are happy the living room is tidy. Next time you have a task that is typically not so fun, try to incorporate some type of play into it as you go, and see how your kids react!
- Have Age Appropriate Expectations. Keep your child’s age in mind. I totally agree with having high expectations for your children. I think children are much more capable than society gives them credit for, but also keep their development in mind. I wouldn’t expect my 4 year old to clean the entire kitchen unsupervised and do an excellent job. I do believe she is capable of helping washing and drying dishes with supervision. Allow them to help with tasks that may be challenging to them, but if your kids are younger, remember there may be a lot more reminding and guiding on how to properly do something.
- Let them work alongside you. This one may be a tough one for some of us! I truly believe children are much more likely to help with things they may not like when they’re allowed to help with things they’d like to try. In our family, the kids are involved in as many chores as possible in an age appropriate manner. This teaches them that everyone pitches in, and that they are capable. Children want to feel valued and like they contribute to the family, and there is no better way to do this than allowing them to work alongside you. Children are sponges, and they will soak up all of those valuable skills. Plus, they have to learn eventually, right? No better time to start than now!
- Create a system they are involved in. This can be indiviualized to fit your family. For us, we discussed age appropriate chores the kids could do each day, then created a printable chore check list. I laminated the chart and hung it in the kitchen. Now the kids can check off their chores as they go throughout the day. It’s a way that I can show them what is expected of them, and they have some independence in making sure they get their tasks done.
I am certainly no parenting expert. These are just some practical tips that we use in our home to help raise helpful kids. I would love to hear from you! How do you encourage your children to be helpful? Share your tips below in the comments. Don’t forget to sign up for my email list to get updated every time there’s a new post here on the blog, and follow along on Instagram at abundantlifehomestead for more into our daily life!