Children love to help. They see the things their parents or grandparents are doing, and they want to do those things too. All too often, the parents or grandparents think the child is too little to help, so they tell them to go play. In my opinion, that is a big mistake. Children can learn to be helpers at very young ages, if given the opportunity, they can become very good at it…maybe even experts.

When my girls were little, they loved helping me with the household chores, and they got very good at making beds, vacuuming floors, washing dishes, washing clothes, and many other household chores. I know everyone teaches their kids to do chores, but when I have told people how young they were, they always seem surprised…like a child that young can’t possibly be trusted with some of the machines my girls used. No, they weren’t 3 years old or anything, when were washing clothes, but they were 7 and 8 years old. And they did it very well.

My nephew, Barry always wanted to help his grandpa. My father-in-law was Barry’s best friend, and if Grandpa was doing something, then that was what Barry wanted to be doing. When a child shows such an interest in something, it is easy to teach them to actually do it. By the time Barry was 5 or 6 years old, he was running a wood splitter with my father-in-law just like an expert. Barry was there to help split wood, when Bob and my brother-in-law, Ron couldn’t be there, either because of work or school, and he proved himself to be invaluable.

When my own grandchildren were 10, 10, 9, and 7 years old, they helped us with the daily care of my dad when he was very ill. They didn’t care what we asked. They were willing to learn, and more importantly, they were willing to do. Today they have gone on to do other things, since they are 16, 16, 15, and 13 years old, but they still know how to be caregivers, and they are still willing to help in whatever way we ask of them.

Children are never too young to learn to be helpers. Sure we have to try to make the jobs we give them be something they can do at their age, but sometimes they will surprise you by being able to do things that are way beyond their years, as was the case with Barry and the splitter when he was 5 or 6 years old, or my granddaughter, Shai when she single handedly took care of my parents all day when they and we could not, and she was only 10 years old, or my grandson Josh, who so completely understands the needs of my in-laws, and who quickly catches on to the new treatments we need his help with, and is so meticulous in the performance of the duties we give him. Children truly are never too young to learn, if we give them a chance.

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