Expert Advice

Encouraging children to be helpful.

Encouraging children to be helpful.

In the world of “martyr mums” and “do it all dads”, children are not often expected to do chores around the house, but is this actually good for them?

Our resident child development expert, Dr Gummer explains why it’s actually good for children to help out.

“Children copy parents and crave attention from them. By encouraging children to join in and help with things around the house, you’re not only helping them learn skills that they need for independence, but giving them an opportunity to gain approval and attention and increasing the likelihood of them being helpful in the future.”

“Try to avoid the temptation to incentivise ‘being helpful’ as children need to understand that being helpful is part of living in a family and a wider community. If you attach a tangible reward to being helpful children will learn to ask or expect a reward for every bit of help they give. This will lead to disappointment and selfish attitudes.”

“However, it is perfectly reasonable to help children learn the benefits of being helpful. For example, they want you to play a game with them, but you’re sorting out the washing and don’t think you have time. If they help you get the washing sorted, you’ll probably have time to play a quick game with them. This approach teaches children about natural consequences and gives them an understanding that things generally work better if everyone helps each other, promoting helpful behaviour and reducing the attitude of entitlement that is common in children and young people today.”

A message from! Remember to download the Olly Star Chart later in the week – to encourage your little ones to be more helpful!

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