Start when they're young and kids will internalize the desire to help.
Teaching our children about helping others should begin at an early age, because more than a way of doing things, it is above all a way of being. And we know how decisive the early years are for the orientation of a child’s personality.
Here are 3 mistakes to avoid when taking the steps to foster a servant’s heart in your children:
Mistake #1: Getting frustrated by their clumsiness
As soon as a child is able to do so, they should be encouraged to help, even if it’s more work for the parents than doing it themselves. They can, for example, set the table, pick up their toys, help put the diapers in the washing machine. The most important thing is not the immediate effectiveness of the service (an older child would do it much better and faster), but that, little by little, the small child internalizes the desire and the idea to help.
This is why we make sure that the older children (and we parents as well) do not become impatient with their clumsiness or slowness and do not get angry over a broken plate.
Mistake #2: Paying them for service rendered
You can teach your growing child how to help out discreetly, without anyone knowing (except the Lord who sees everything). One way is to present the activity like a game.Some parents encourage their children to take part in household chores by giving them a small allowance each week.
Of course, all work deserves a salary, but it is important thatchildren learn to help out for free. On the other hand, children should always be thanked for their help and encouraged to continue doing so.
Mistake #3: Giving long lectures and sermons
Is efficiency, in the eyes of the world, the same as in the eyes of God? If being useful is not something that comes naturally to us,doesn’t that make us basically poor servants? This is why it is necessary to develop our children’s ability to help out diligently and effectively. But it is also to facilitate the discovery (especially through their “apparent” failures) that we are small in God’s hands, that it is He who does everything through us and that the real effectiveness of our actions escapes and surpasses us.
It is not easy to lead our children along this path and it is not done, in any case, with long lectures or “sermons.” We ourselves must also move in this direction, setting an example and being of service to those around us.