"Who did you help today?"

"Who did you help today?"

Our children are never too young to learn the value and joy that comes from helping others, and by asking children, 

"Who did you help today?" every day, we can encourage them to unleash the magic of helping. 

The bottom line is that children want to help, so how do we as adults nurture and guide them to form a lifelong habit of helping others? Children are a wealth of information, so a great way to start is by asking them to write their own list of the things they believe might help make someone else's day better. The ways our children help don't need to be big, but they do need to teach recognition of situations where someone might need a helping hand and what they can do to help. We need to encourage all efforts, and while the level of help will depend on the child's age, children need to understand that helping other New Zealanders each and every day is what matters and, while you may never know the impact your interaction will have, it is likely to help someone. 

For preschoolers, helping can be as simple as giving them a household job, such as putting away their toys when they've finished playing or suggest they help their early childhood teacher pack up the paints. They might even want to give one of their many homemade artworks to a friend. 

As children get older, helping others might be about helping an elderly neighbour with their rubbish bins, picking up rubbish around school, doing household jobs like setting the dinner table, or unpacking the dishwasher. All of these, while they may seem like small gestures, encourage our children to understand how helping others makes a difference. 

Once they're ready, turn helping into a family effort. Talk to your children first and find out what might interest them, what issues they care about, or what causes they would like to support. Are they concerned about the environment? Do they care about abandoned or rescued animals? How about elderly people who don't have any family to visit them? Or maybe it's poverty, homelessness, or sickness?
Depending on what your child is interested in and what you agree as a family, helping could be as simple as cleaning out wardrobes and bookcases and then going together to a charity shop to donate clothes, shoes, and books. You could look for a volunteer activity in your community. The internet or local library are good sources of information about organisations that are looking for volunteers. Depending on the age of your children, HelpTank ( might help you identify some wonderful volunteering opportunities. While many parents of young children have little time in their daily routines and the thought of adding more to that day is somewhat daunting, even small efforts, that make a difference to others, help our children learn the value of helping others. 

Another good and easy way to help our children understand the impact of helping others is by showing them real-life examples. While our world is overrun with tough issues, there are good things that are happening and good people trying to help. You can help make your own children feel better about the world they live in by finding articles about students who are volunteering to help others. This will also get children thinking how they might be able to help make a difference. 
When we encourage children to help, they learn to appreciate the value that comes from helping others. Asking our children a simple question such as "Who did you help today?" will remind them that they can make a positive difference not only to individuals,but to the communities we all live in.

Who Did You Help Today
Determined to develop innovative grassroots solutions to tackle social issues in New Zealand, Who Did You Help Today ( has three projects that support connecting our communities to create positive change: Homework Club, which connects workplaces with low-decile primary schools to support students’ learning at a weekly club, Mothers Project, which connects volunteer lawyers with imprisoned mothers to provide assistance to maintain family ties, and HelpTank, a digital platform which matches community organisations with skilled professionals.