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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Letting Them Help

When you have a lot to do, it can be hard to find the patience to let your little ones help. Children love to be in the middle of everything, don’t they? And boy do they ever get in the way sometimes!

They love to “help” even when it means more work for us. But I think we need to let them help us for them to feel valued. They need to know they are needed and can be of some use. They live to please us and to be a part of something.

I know there are many times I have been short with my son when he’s tried to help me and said things like, “Not this time. I just need to get this done!” What I didn’t realize at the time is that he needed to feel useful. He felt the need to help me and to feel like he’s a contributing. He needed to feel useful. All I ended up doing was just made him feel bad, like he was in the way.

Ugh! I did it again! I hate those parenting failure moments!

Often times when I don’t let him help me, he gets frustrated and even angry. He also gets his feelings hurt. When I deny him this opportunity to feel helpful and to learn skills by working with me, I am making him feel like he isn’t capable of helping me or that his help isn’t valued. And I never want to make him feel that way.

Looking back, I see that even if I didn’t have the time to let him help me with what I was doing, I should have looked around for a small, out of the way job that he could do at the same time. That way I could have completed my task quickly and still had made him feel useful.

I must learn to schedule more time to accomplish my daily chores to allow for time for my young son to help me. Yes, it may take me longer to get done and I may have to re-do it over later, but the payoff of him learning new skills and more importantly, boosting his self esteem far outweighs the benefit of scratching another chore off my To-Do list.

I love scratching off the chores on my list, but I love showing my son how to write his letters more.

I love getting caught up on laundry, if only in my dreams, but teaching my son how to separate the laundry into piles will serve him better when he’s on his own and doesn’t want to end up with pink underwear.

I love having a clean house, but it sure is entertaining to watch my little one wrestle with a bulky vacuum that is bigger than he is and see the look of satisfaction and pride when he shows me how clean the rug is.

See, my most important job isn’t to balance the checkbook, to do the dishes or keep the laundry pile under 30 ft high. My most important job is being his teacher, his coach and his mama.

How do I want my son to remember spending his time with me? As always making him feel like he was in the way or where he learned about doing things for himself with his me right there to help him learn?

I think I know. It’s teaching him how to put the toilet paper roll on right.


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Project MAHMA(Moms at Home Making A Difference…and a Lot of Money!) is a global coalition of moms (and dads) who are earning an income from home and giving themselves the gift of freedom— including more time with their families—while at the same time offering others the gift of better health and a better life.

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  1. Oh man, do I ever know about these parenting fails! I bite my lip all the time when those unappreciative words leave my lips to those sweet little ears that only want to help. Even though I try to apologize and make it up to him, I can't help but wonder if I've done permanent damage. This post was a great reminder of why I need to watch what I say and be supportive when my children want to help...or else I'll pay for it later when they don't want to help at all! Thanks for sharing! I'm joining you from MOB!

  2. Thanks Sherry. You are certainly not alone! When we have too much to do and not enough time to do it all, we tend to cut short our little one's activities. It's easy to let loose those words that sting them and taste awful in our mouths. I often worry about causing him damage, too, like you said. You are right, if we don't let them help now and make it fun for them, they won't want to help later!



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