How to Create Habits of Helpfulness!

Posted on by Helena Eddings

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Picture this. You arrive home after a big weekly shopping trip loaded with groceries and household supplies and your children say: “I want to help.” If this already happens in your household then you are building habits of helpfulness and caring that will be the foundation for a lifetime of awareness of the needs of others and the environment.

It’s never too early or too late to start. Toddlers can carry a roll of toilet paper to the bathroom, paper towels to the kitchen. Preschool children can help sort items for the right cabinet, refrigerator, freezer, etc. Elementary age children can help put items away in their proper places, and adolescents can carry the heaviest bags for you as well as assist the younger children with their tasks.

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Why go to all this effort when it’s easier to do it yourself? Children thrive on consistent expectations and accomplishment. They take pride in their belongings and yours when they have responsibilities, learn to organize, and feel needed. If you start when your children are very young and create a family culture that values each individual’s contribution, confidence grows.

Building habits of helpfulness and caring takes practice. Older children who have never been asked to help often feel entitled to be served by adults and may complain or drag their feet if you shift your expectations. But even teenagers want the security of known boundaries and will eventually participate without constant reminders if you are consistent and fair.

Every little job helps build confidence and independence. Cleaning up, helping to prepare food, watering plants, feeding pets, sweeping floors, putting laundry away… the opportunities are endless. Create a family culture of helpfulness and watch your children’s sense of responsibility and caring grow.

Lynn Fisher,

Head of School

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West Side Montessori is an independent, accredited Montessori school educating children 13 months through 8th grade (preschool, kindergarten, elementary and middle school) with locations at 13587 Roachton Rd in Perrysburg, Ohio, and 7115 W. Bancroft Street in Toledo, Ohio.