Encouraging Kids to Be Little Helpers

At the grocery store I recently overheard a mom ask her two preschoolers, “can you be a helper?” Wow! That mom totally captured the moment. Both preschoolers were eager participants in placing items on the conveyer belt at the register. I loved the mom’s message of being a “helper.”

Your preschooler is at the ideal age to start being your helper around the house. Young children are eager to help adults. While many household tasks are faster and easier if you complete them by yourself, helping is an important part of early childhood development. By allowing your child to be involved with everyday tasks, you’re building their confidence, increasing their attention span, strengthening motor skills, developing responsibility and creating family cohesion. There is even research that supports that children who do household tasks at an early age are more successful and self-motivated later in life.

Things to Consider When Asking Kids to Help

  • Be strategic. First show them how. Then let your child help.
  • Be generous with praise and be specific with your praise. “You were so quick picking up those blocks.” “Wow, you stacked those books in a very neat pile.”
  • Have fun! Add music and see how many toys are picked up before the song ends.
  • Accept imperfection.
  • Create a culture of teamwork by getting everyone in the house involved in a task.

Good Tasks for Little Kids

Your home is full of jobs your child can complete. Best of all, children are generally excited and enthusiastic helpers. Engage your little helper with age-appropriate tasks. Everyone is big enough to do something. Here are a few ideas:

  • Put away toys
  • Set the table
  • Bring their plate to the sink
  • Get the mail
  • Make the bed
  • Fold towels
  • Help pull clothes out of the dryer
  • Water plants
  • Unload the dishwasher

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As the Early Childhood Learning Coordinator, Sherry is focused on engaging young children and their families in play-based early learning experiences. The Learn & Play Bus and its service are at the heart of her work. Sherry has a background in early childhood education.