An interesting study was published in Child Development comparing the motivational levels of children willing to help adults based on how the children were asked to help. The participants included about 150, 3-6 year olds, who participated in two experiments. In one experiment, the adults talked to the children about helping then referred to helping with a verb (e.g., "Some children choose to help"). In the other experiment, again the adult talked to the children about helping but referred to helping with a noun (e.g., "Some children choose to be helpers").
The children then began playing with toys. While they were playing, the adult provided four opportunities for the youngsters to stop and help the experimenter—to pick up a mess, open a container, put away toys, and pick up crayons that had spilled on the floor. In each case, the children had to stop playing to help.
The following results were recorded:
1. the children who heard the noun wording (helper) helped significantly more than children who heard the verb wording (help).
2. when the experimenter talked to youngsters about helping, using verb wording, the children didn't help any more than when the experimenter never brought up helping at all.
The researchers recommend that parents and teachers can encourage young children to be more helpful by using nouns like helper instead of verbs like helping when making a request of a child.
Reference: Medical Express. Want a young child to 'help' or 'be a helper'? Choice of words matters. Retrieved from the web on 5/6/14 at http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-04-young-child-helper-choice-words.html#nwlt
Life Skills of the Month
By: Your Therapy Source
Summary: 12 hand outs and posters to encourage practicing life skills throughout the year provided in Word and pdf format.
Find out more at http://yourtherapysource.com/lifeskills.html