Everyone, at some point, has to ask others for help and support. This can be especially challenging for adults. Whether we feel guilt, shame, or that we will be bothering others, asking for help can sometimes feel like a failure or inconvenience. According to Social Psychologist Heidi Grant, most of us wildly underestimate the likelihood that others will want to help out. Helping others can make us feel connected, included, and needed; and when we feel that we are in community with others, we consequently harness more confidence and belonging.
So, knowing that asking for help can be difficult, and understanding that those who offer support genuinely want to help—what can we do to let our children know that it’s okay to ask for help? Check out these tips for encouraging a growth mindset:
Modeling the behaviors that we hope to see in our children is one of the strongest tools we have as caregivers. Start asking your child to help out in age-appropriate ways. This can be as simple as having them carry in groceries or help a younger sibling with something. Never shy away from talking to your child about times you need help. When children see us asking for help without guilt, we are giving them permission to do the same.
When your child helps out, make sure to check in after. You can ask them, “How did that make you feel to help me?” Working on perspective taking can help kids gain greater empathy for themselves and others. These moments of reflection can then be used later if your child is struggling to ask for help. It might sound like, “Remember when you helped me plant the flowers outside? I asked you for help, and you had so much fun and felt proud. How do you think your teacher feels when you ask them for help when you are struggling?”
Books like our Narwhal book and our Hero Camp story are wonderful tools for laying the foundation for a strong growth mindset with your child. Here at Slumberkins, we have excellent resources on growth mindset as well.
Be on the lookout for helpers in your community. Doctors, paramedics, fire fighters, police officers, teachers, nurses, caregivers, and yes—our own loved ones! Pointing out trusted adults and peers who offer help can encourage your child to help out and to not be afraid to ask others to help.
Knowing and acknowledging when you need help is a strength, not a weakness. Asking for help creates connection for you and the person who helped you, and it can build a stronger sense of self when your child feels loved and supported. A growth mindset is a real superpower because helping creates a greater sense of community and connection for all involved.
Asking for help is a strength we can all utilize to help foster stronger relationships with others. Share with us in the comments your child’s favorite way to help out at home and make sure to stay tuned for more Hero Camp social skills!