How To Encourage Your Child To Ask
How much easier would your life be if your child voluntarily asked for help? Rather than assuming your child has “everything under control”, you would know with certainty because your child would ask for help when he or she needs it. How much better would you feel about your child’s academic future if your child learned to ask for help as he or she started to take more advanced courses or when looking for scholarships? Asking for help accelerates your child’s learning process because he or she is not secretly waiting for someone to provide guidance. Rather your child finds answers sooner and therefore is able to overcome challenges more quickly. Overcoming challenges lead to success. The longer your child delays the process of receiving needed help the more likely your child’s problems will compound into more complicated situations. Therefore, are you ready to discover how to cultivate confidence in your child so he or she asks for help from a place of “strength” rather than a place of “desperateness”?
Do you demonstrate to your child what asking for help looks like? Do you ask your child for help? Do you set an example as to why asking for help is okay? Proactively asking for help can prevent problems from “spiraling out of control” and can create positive outcomes. Let’s focus on what creating positive experiences of asking for help looks like for your child. Before we discuss simple easy ways to help your child associate asking for help in a positive manner, I want to ask you the following two questions: “Does your child like to eat?” and “Is your child responsible enough to use a kitchen knife?”
What does eating and a kitchen knife have to do with learning how to ask for help? I am glad you asked. As a parent you can easily use your authoritative power to spark a conversation that leads your child to engage in small helpful chores around the house. For example, after grocery shopping, when you are carrying multiple grocery bags you can ask your child to open the door and/or help bring in groceries. Once the groceries are in the house, you have a couple of options. You have the choice between telling or asking your child, to help to put away the groceries.
Option A: “Put the away the groceries.”
Option B: “Tonight we are having tacos for dinner. Can you help me by placing the taco seasoning, the corn tortillas and all the other non-refrigerator items in one spot on the kitchen counter? It doesn’t make since to put these items way when dinner needs to be made within the next few hours.” Then when your child is almost done say…“Thank you, now, can you help me by putting away the rest of the groceries?”
Which option do you think your child is most likely to respond favorably too?
If your child is like most kids, your child wants to be well feed. Your child is more likely to happily help if your child knows he or she will benefit in the near future. In this case, your child knows the benefit is a good homemade meal. Then as the evening nears you ask your child “Can you help me make dinner, I only need 5 minutes of your time?” How difficult is it going to be for your child to say no, when your child is hungry and wants a homemade meal?
You could tell your child “I need your help in preparing the ingredients that go on our tacos. I need you to wash the tomatoes and slice and dice it like this… (demonstration). Now I need you to slice and dice the other tomatoes.” Then when dinner is prepared and you are enjoying a good meal together, thank your child for his or her help in making dinner. By doing this you are associating asking for help with positive outcomes; in this case, a good meal and acknowledgement in front of others. Helping to put away groceries and prepare a meal does not take a lot of time, but it takes less time if people work together as a family than if one person is responsible. If one person is responsible for all the family activities, than household work associated with running a “happy home” becomes a j-o-b rather than a family living together.
You know the importance of why asking for help leads to positive outcomes and makes life easier. Now, how does this translate into your child asking for help when it comes to academics or finding scholarships? Great, question. Before we discuss this further, it is important to note that you may need to “prime the pump” a little more before your child spouts off with his or her concerns and asks for help. While your child is still at the dinner table, but after having enjoyed a taco or two, ask…
- How are things going for you at school?
- How are you doing in your classes and with your homework?
- How is your scholarship search going?
In the course of the conversation you may learn reasons why your child does not like a particular teacher, course or why finding scholarships is not progressing as quickly as your child thought it would. In the beginning your child may not know how to ask for help and/or may not feel comfortable asking. So you may need to “ask” to demonstrate that asking is okay. You may need to say things like…
- Are you having a tough time in your math class because your teacher goes over the material quickly?
- Have you talked to your teacher before or after class regarding this?
- Is tutoring made available during lunch or before or after school?
- Does the time frame tutoring is offered conflict with any activities like sports practice?
- Would you like me to hire a math tutor who will work around your schedule?
By having a conversation with your child, you ask multiple questions. You demonstrate that “asking” helps your child move closer towards a solution. As you spend more time “asking” your child questions, your child is more likely to become comfortable with the “asking” process and is more likely to initiate conversations to ask for help. After a while, don’t be too surprised if your child becomes bold and starts asking questions like “Is there a way someone can find scholarships for me? I don’t want to take time away from studying for my math tests.” This type of question demonstrates your child is being proactive. Your child is not lazy. Your child is being practical.
Fortunately, there are people like myself who will look for scholarships on your family’s behalf. I offer a Gold, Silver and Bronze coaching programs. The Gold Program offers a “Done For You” component that includes sifting through thousands of scholarships on your family’s behalf. If you are interested in discussing coaching then I encourage you to visit Ask25Questions.com to receive your complementary welcome gift to a community of likeminded parents and fill out the assessment. After the assessment you will be taken to a page with a brief video that explains what to expect during our discovery session. Then you will be granted access to my online calendar to schedule a time to talk.
Life becomes easier when your child asks for support when he or she needs it. Teaching your child to ask is not difficult. Start by demonstrating that it is okay to ask for help. Demonstrate what asking for help looks like. After grocery shopping, have your child help put groceries away. Have your child help prepare dinner. Demonstrate that asking for help can lead to positive outcomes that are beneficial. Feed your child and continue the conversation at the dinner table. Then over time watch your child become comfortable with asking for help. Eagerly anticipate your child asking for help in supportive ways you may have never thought of before.
Next time you make dinner, ask your child for help.