Isn’t it crazy that when kids are very small they want to help you with everything, but when they are old enough to actually be some help, they don’t want to anymore? This is probably because we have trained them NOT to want to help. What? Yes, we often train our children to avoid helping by not taking the time to teach them responsibility.
Children naturally want to be involved with everything their parents and siblings are doing. They are curious and they want to learn. If we are cleaning or cooking, they will try to get right in there and help. Even though they aren’t physically or mentally ready to do most things, they still want to try. This is a necessary and important part of their learning process.
However, when children get in our way, especially when they are small, we tend to push them aside and tell them they can’t help. We say things like, “You are too small, you will get hurt, you can’t do this, you don’t know how, go and play, leave mommy (or daddy) alone.” When my children were small, I didn’t often allow them to help out when they showed an interest, because it took too long and I wanted things done quickly and properly. Then I wondered why they didn’t help around the house when they got older.
When children are small, of course they are unable to help very much, but this is the perfect time to start teaching them. If you push a child aside, they will feel that you aren’t interested in them and that they have no value. This can have a huge effect on their confidence and esteem and when they get older, they won’t want to bother helping because they don’t know how, they feel it is a waste of their time or they just expect you to do everything for them.
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