To teach children to be helpful, we have to do at least two things. First, we have to help them learn the skills involved in helping others with various tasks; second, we have to give them opportunities to practice being helpful even when their efforts may not contribute to completing the task. For example, to learn how to clean up after dinner, children have to know how to clear the table, wipe it clean and wash and dry the dishes. Someone has to show or tell them how to do these things. Also, someone has to encourage them to help with mealtime cleanup even though their help may cause more work at first. Because elders may have more time and patience than many parents, they can be especially effective in nurturing a sense of helpfulness in children.
- Prepare your Special Letter:
Discuss things that people do for you that you feel are helpful. Talk about acceptable ways to go about helping someone else. Give suggestions of things your grandchild can do for his or her parents, neighbors, teachers, etc. to help out. Tell how you feel when you do something to help someone else out. Anything you think is important!
- For your grandchild's scrapbook:
Draw a picture of you helping your grandchild with a task. At the bottom of the page identify what is happening in the picture.
- In your journal (After completing letter 7)
Talk about some of the people who helped you while you were growing up. What did they do? What effect did they have on you? Talk about the importance of helping. Why should a person learn to help others? (After receiving your grandchild's special letter): How have your grandchild's letters helped you? How have your helped him or her?
- Optional Activities (Choose as many as you want to do):
- Nature Walk. Go out for a walk. Look for interesting twigs, rocks, leaves, etc. Arrange the rocks and other things to make helpful people or objects. Add decorative touches with paint to indicate eyes, nose, hair and other body features.
- Helpful Hands. Paint the palms of your hands and fingers. Make a print. Explain at the bottom of the page the many ways your hands can be helpful.
- Mail what you have created directly to your grandchild. Ask your grandchild to respond with letter 7 on his or her instruction sheet.