Growing up, I recall rejecting help often because there was always something more interesting to do. So, when my little one turns the other cheek when I ask for help, a big part of me completely gets it- but it got me thinking and lead me to ask myself a big question: how can I get my little one to help out more?
After doing a bit of research, I found some interesting information I thought I would share with everyone. When we often ask our toddlers to help us out, we are approaching it all wrong. According to parenting expert and founder of the Foster Care Institute John DeGarmo, Ph.D., “Parents need to use language that is encouraging and uplifting, full of praise,” continuing, he goes on to explain to Fatherly, that language that is filled with ‘enthusiasm’ helps children to want to do what you are asking of them.
Additionally, a good bit of research has shown that kids are typically more intrigued when we opt for nouns, rather than verbs. So, instead of asking them to help you, ask them to be your helper. By making this simple switch, your child is far more inclined to accept your request.
Then, to boost their motivation, when you notice that they have accomplished a step, use phrases like, “Wow! You must be super proud of yourself. You did such a great job. ” When you do this, this helps to reinforce their inner motivation.
However, one major thing to remember is that you want to praise them for the specific task, rather than just praising them for existing. While at first, your child may not be as gung-ho as you may like, as time goes on, the more encouragement and reinforcement given, the more your child will be inclined to help. And of course, continue to use those simple play-on-words to give them a verbal push.