To raise a kinder generation, we begin by empowering our children to realise that they can make a difference simply by offering a helping hand. The fundamentals of being a helper take compassion, respect, empathy and kindness – all values that allow children to become morally sound characters who bring positive contributions not only to the people around them but also to society. Get started with these basic tips.
Encouraging helpful behaviour in kids should ideally begin when your child is little. At home, get your little one used to the idea of helping out by including him or her in everyday chores. “Do you want to help mummy/daddy?” will most likely be received with enthusiasm. Of course, you have to be prepared that your child might cause tasks to take even longer to complete, but that it is important that your little one is not only given the opportunity to help out, but also feel a sense of accomplishment for doing so. The latter will play a part in shaping the kids’ desire to help out as they grow older.
Lead by example
Children take cues from their parents on how to behave (amongst other essentials), so showing them how you help others will be an effective method. Whether it’s empathising with a tough situation your child is going through, helping a neighbour with the groceries, or even lending a helping hand to a stranger, your child will be able to effectively understand the concept of helping others (and start wanting to do the same) by your examples.
Encourage helpful behaviour
There are plenty of ways to be helpful both within and outside of the family. As they grow older, keep a look out for opportunities where your child can lend a helping hand. Some prompting may be needed in the beginning, but be it giving up their seat on the train, holding the lift for a neighbour or other small gestures, your child will learn to identify when others may need a little extra help, and start doing so with an open heart.
Don’t forget to praise helpful behaviour when you see it. This helps your child to form positive associations to being a helper, and help them hold onto these lessons as they grow older.
Volunteer as a family
There are many benefits that come with volunteering as a family; building closer bonds, picking up valuable skills, instilling moral responsibility… to name a few. Not to mention, reinforcing the concept of helping others out without expecting anything in return.
For families with really young kids, finding volunteering opportunities may be tricky. But don’t let that deter you from exposing your child to valuable experiences and lessons. For starters, ask your child to gather old toys and books, or school supplies to donate to local children’s organisations. Explain to them that these will be going to kids who need it even more than they do.