Milestones     Toddler     School Age    

Children Learn to Help



Beginning very early, children show us they can be kind to others and can help them. Toddlers love to "help."

This willingness to work with others increases over the next several years?if the conditions are right.

Children really seem to enjoy helping out and will continue to act this way if they are taught how to help and then encouraged to do so.

Fostering kind, thoughtful behavior in the first place will help prevent a lot of the hurtful, aggressive behavior seen in some children as they develop.

Some guidelines:
  • Plan "nice to do" activities. Occasionally involve your child in the planning and carrying out of "nice to do" activities that benefit other people, like picking out a library book to take to a sick friend or drawing an original birthday card.
  • Verbally label thoughtful, cooperative behavior. When you see an act of kindness or helpfulness, point it out by putting a label on it. "It was a thoughtful thing for Mrs. Thomas to do when she drove us to the garage to pick up the car."
  • Role play cooperative, helpful behavior. Children learn to cooperate when they have had a chance to actually practice these behavior.

Young children enjoy playing with puppets and you can capitalize on this by doing some brief puppet role plays that focus on helpfulness. For example your puppet drops a whole box of nails. Ask the child's puppet how it can help.

Courtesy Growing Child.