Children are born with a desire to help others, but most parents neither teach nor encourage their child to extend a helping hand. Read our article to know how to teach your child to help others.
By Arun Sharma
By teaching your child to help others, you can bring out that aspect of his character which everyone around him will appreciate. Helping others will also make your child realise that it is his moral responsibility to help and care for those around him.
But, how can you teach your little one to help others? Let’s look at some easy and practical ways to instil in your child the habit of helping others.
1. Stress that charity begins at home: Remember the time when you were taking a nap and the power went off. And, you woke up to find your little one clumsily shaking a newspaper, trying to fan you. His selfless act would have melted your heart. However, what such deeds also reveal about your child is that he understands that it is his duty to help his family members . Encourage such habits in your child and motivate him to help you by doing some simple things like bringing you a glass of water, placing the dirty dishes in the sink and so on.
2. Entrust responsibilities: By the time your child passes out of kindergarten, she would be capable of doing quite a few things on her own. Make your child aware of all that you do for her and then give her the responsibility of doing some of these chores on her own to let you get some rest. Some of the things she can do are - keeping an eye on her younger sibling while you are in the kitchen, watering the plants, setting the plates on the dining table, dusting the furniture (if your child doesn’t have dust allergy), getting ready for school, and keeping her books in order. With time, she will learn to extend a helping hand not just at home, but to those outside her home as well.
3. Repeat to reinforce : The old adage ‘practice makes a man perfect’ stands true when you are teaching your child to help others . Select a helpful activity that your child can do on a periodic basis, every day, or once in week or a fortnight, like taking an elderly neighbour out for a walk daily or using a part of the money he saves every month to buy new pencils and erasers for a child who cannot afford it. Encouraging him to continuously engage in such acts of helping others will reinforce the habit of helping.
4. Put others before self: Read out stories from books about a helpful child or show your child pictures of a child helping others. You can also show her pictures of children engaged in various activities and ask her to point out those who are helping others and those who aren’t. Make her understand that instead of worrying about her own comfort all the time, she should put the needs of others before her .
5. Engage in community activities: Talk with your child, encouraging him to come up with ideas to help neighbours or others in the community. Some of the community activities he can take part in are cleaning up the local park or donating his old books to less-privileged children. Explain to your child how helping the community will make him a loved and respected person. A positive image of himself will go a long way in inspiring him to take the on the role of a helpful individual seriously.
6. Be a good role model: Children look up to their parents for direction and learn by imitating what their parents do. So, be a good role model for your child. Involve yourself in lending a helping hand at home and to members of your community. By observing what you do, your child will also learn to help others.
A word of praise to recognise and appreciate a good deed can work wonders. Whenever your child helps anyone around him, make sure that you tell him how proud it made you feel to see him do it. Discuss his helpful actions with him and make him understand that a person who helps others is someone who is revered by the society. If you can make your child learn the habit of helping others early on, it will stay with him throughout his lifetime.
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