Step Expect Helpfulness

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is assuming their kids will help out without being asked—or paid. Don't make that mistake. If you want your kid to be helpful and a contributing family member, then model, reinforce, and nurture those behaviors. Expect your kid to help out at home and willingly lend a hand whenever asked and to do so without being paid.

Make sure your kid knows your expectations. Don't be vague, indirect, or make the mistake of assuming that kids know how to lend a helping hand. Instead, specify exactly what they can do to be supportive on any given day, and then expect the behavior. Here are some ideas about how to do this:

"We're going to Aunt Carol's today. You know how much she appreciates your helping her set the table, so be sure you do."

"Mom is coming home soon and has had a really hard day. Why don't you tell her you'll help fix dinner? I know she'll be thankful."

When they get the idea of how to lend a hand, encourage the behavior:

"I'm having the Kanes for dinner tonight.What could you do to help me out at dinnertime?" "We're leaving on our vacation tomorrow, and there's lot to do. How will you help?"

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