Pair up an older child with a younger child. The older helping child is called “THE HELPER”. The younger child needing assistance is called “THE BIG BUDDY”. The older child is in charge of helping their younger buddy in various ways and teaching them how to do age-appropriate tasks themselves.
The Older Sibling’s Responsibilities:
- To always help their buddy when their buddy requests help or when Mom requests them to help the buddy. (usually accomplishing little chores, holding hands in parking lots, staying occupied in the car, etc)
- To take time to teach their buddy how to do things on their own (like making beds, brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc)
- To teach and help in kindness and to take their responsibility seriously.
- If the buddy is unruly or getting out of hand in some way, to ask a parent for help.
The Younger Siblings Responsibilities:
- To listen and obey their helper the same as they would obey a parent.
- To do as much as they can on their own, but to ask their helper for help BEFORE they ask mom for help.
If a young child approaches you for help you can say cheerfully “Have you asked your helper? They are really good at that and they would love to help you!”
If your older child is assigned as a helper to a baby, then they might not care for the baby independently, but may help you in ways that you direct. This is a good role for your new 5 or 6 year old helpers. You could ask them to get something the baby needs, play with the baby while you cook, take a diaper to the trash, push the baby’s stroller, or many other semi-supervised activities.
I have loved creating opportunities for my children to help, serve, and learn from each other. Not only has it helped me in my tasks and responsibilities, but it has strengthened their relationships with each other.