How To Raise Helpful Kids!
We all want our kids to be helpful and kind. Children and even babies can naturally be that way. Studies with babies under 12 months show that they notice when others are frustrated and can respond with help. Check out this video!
So, if our little ones do this naturally, what happens when we try and encourage kids to be helpful with some kind of coercion or reward?
Many studies starting from toddlers into school age children show that giving rewards or some kind of manipulation in behavior are rarely successful at producing children that are 'more helpful'. Instead it tends to produce the opposite effect. They tend to lose interest and motivation.
So, what can we do to support our kids natural intrinsic motivation to be helpful and kind?
- model, model, model: the behaviors we would like to see in our children. Kids don’t learn things by what we tell them, instead they learn by watching us, how we interact with others, and how we engage in the world.
- secure emotional attachment: supporting responsive, consistent care giving with warmth, trust and connection.
- emotional coaching: helps kids learn what is appropriate, how to care for others, and how to regulate their own more challenging emotions. This naturally translates to an intrinsic capacity to be helpful with others.
Good values in our children have to be grown from the inside out. When we model those values in our home in combination with safety, warmth and connection, we support them to become helpful, empathetic, caring children that springs from inside their naturally kind hearts.