How do you encourage children to help others? Young children want to help, so this is a great opportunity to channel that energy into something positive.
“The desire to help is innate,” says Parents Magazine’s David Schonfeld, MD , director of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “At first, children like to help others because it helps them get what they want. Next, they do so because they get praise. Finally, they begin to anticipate the needs of others, and it becomes intrinsically rewarding to do nice things for people in their lives.”
Try focusing on doing good deeds with your child. Highlight and praise your child when he or she does a good deed without prompting. Think about what you would like to do together to help others. After identifying one or two causes, research with your child to identify who in your community would benefit from your support. Here is a list to start with, courtesy of the Feinstein Foundation:
What good deeds can you do?
- Say something nice
- Write a letter to someone far away
- Leave a thank you note for your trash collectors
- Make car packages for soldiers
- Visit with residents at a nursing home
- Pick up trash at the playground, school, or library
- Donate toys or clothes that you don’t need
- Use good manners
- Hold the door open for someone
- Gather cans to give to the food bank
- Give popsicles to friends in the neighborhood
The Feinstein Foundation graciously gave our Dr. Day Care and Kids Klub students Jr. Scholar Cards again this summer, so we incorporated good deeds into our curriculum – it is even part of our yearly educational framework! All of our students have been doing good deeds this summer and will continue to learn about how their actions can affect others to help “make the world a better place.”
You are never to young to help others!