Tricks to help your children help others
In the same way that the habits acquired by our children to take care of their hygiene, their rucksack or their duties are achieved by repetition and positive reinforcement, we can instill in them the habit of help others, to those who have closer: their family and their friends.
From very young we have worked with them notions such as order, we have taught them to take care of their personal hygiene, we have guided them to prepare their clothes every day, we have encouraged them to take care of the backpack of the school and finish their homework in time and shape.
In the domestic tasks, they are already able to make the bed and take care of taking their dirty clothes to their place. We have even worked with some parcels distributed among the members of the family, such as putting and removing the table, taking care of serving the water or feeding an animal companion.
See the responsibility of our children both with their things and with collective tasks makes us feel proud. But we still need a challenge that is the most difficult: the step of helping, that is, ofThink of others without yourself receiving immediate benefit.
Help others, an idea to put into practice
It is about getting our children to help in situations for which they are not responsible. But how do we explain to a child that, after having successfully completed his homework, it would be very nice if he spent some time helping his little brother instead of playing? How do we get that, in addition to picking up his dirty clothes, pick up that of his sister who is right next door? How do we get them to leave not only to make their bed but, for example, to make their parents' morning while they prepare breakfast?
Children internalize fairly quickly the concept of responsibility with respect to what is theirs. From very young, with the great help of the school, they are instilled with the idea that they have to take care of the school material that is given to them and they are responsible for not forgetting their clothes or leaving a toy in the playground. They know that the duties they are sent home are theirs and that they should not ask for help from the parents, because the teachers have told them repeatedly. They will try to get help, but if we do not give it to them, they will learn to take responsibility.
They are able to solve their own doubts, to write down the exercises they have been assigned or the date of the exams. They can prepare sports equipment without problems and have not needed help to dress themselves for a long time. But they still consider that the attributions of each one are strictly sealed compartments. So those spaces between responsibilities are nobody's domain.
Ideas for them to discover that helping others is wonderful
Of course 'they are not your problem', to use the term that our children usually use. If something is not 'your fault' or does not fall within the scope of your responsibility, you do not have to. That's why our challenge is to find solutions that make them go modifying this preconceived idea and discover that helping others is not only precious, it will make them feel especially happy.
Idea 1. The task list
There are tasks that are personal and non-transferable: we are not going to wash someone else's teeth and it is not very logical that we prepare the next day's books because it is very likely that we will do it wrong. But there are many activities in the daily life of the house that can be shared and distributed.
We can elaborate with our children a list of the usual tasks to do in the house: pick up the dirty clothes, put the washing machine, lay, iron, distribute the clean clothes, cook, make the purchase, empty the bins, clean .. Once we have made the picture, perhaps on a large blackboard, we will be assigning roles according to the age and circumstances of each family member.
If we have several children, it is a good idea to do rotating shifts to avoid them starting to compare attributions with others. The list of tasks allows us to put an end to this perspective that we do not take care of others. If a child has to go round the house to pick up dirty clothes, he will pick up everyone's. As everyone will go through this task, they will value the effort made by the one that corresponds to them each day and will facilitate their work.
Idea 2. Collaborate with our "strong point"
Not all children are the same and not all point to the same talents. If we empower them to help other family members in those skills that are more developed, they will be learning a nice lesson in generosity while encouraging their self-esteem.
There are many fields to collaborate between brothers or friends. Perhaps the most obvious is homework, but there are other areas where this learning can be very fruitful: crafts, table games, video games, the practice of some sport ...To make them even more proud of their collaboration, parents can let us teach in some aspect. For example, it is easy for us to overcome digital knowledge. We can ask them to help us find an application, to locate a YouTube video, or to show us how to record a small video.
Idea 3. The 'day of others'
This initiative tends to excite children a lot and, once they have acquired the habit, it will not be so difficult to maintain it during adolescence. As if it were a blind draw, a few small pieces of paper with the names of each of the members are raffled off as a family and a date is set to celebrate the 'day of others'. In that day, each one has to do something special for the person who has touched him.
It is a detail that does not require money, that is, it can not be a gift that costs, although perhaps one that does not cost, such as detaching from a toy, a book or a piece of clothing that we know excites the other . It can be a small detail like preparing a dessert that you especially like or that is with the bed open and pajamas ready when you go to sleep. A very young child can draw a picture of the brother who has returned that day. It consists, simply, in making the other's day a little easier.
Everything has to be a surprise and no one can say what he is doing, because the challenge is twofold: it is not only thinking about others, but about everyone realizing what others are doing for him. The next day there will be sharing and thanks for all the experience. And we can now set a date for the next 'other's day'.
Idea 4. Reading sponsors
This initiative, which is being implemented in some schools, can also be applied at home, with the extended family or with the group of friends. It consists of the older children, in the last years of Primary or Secondary education, dedicate a while to read and recommend books to their 'godchildren of reading'.
This will lead them to have to think about their tastes and hobbies, to strive to locate different titles and to understand each other better. The 'godchildren' will learn to be 'godparents' and will strive to read better and better and be able to deal with them from a small reader.