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Ways to Normalize Kids Asking for Help

Asking for help is not always easy for adults to do and certainly challenging for children. Often fear or uneasiness are associated with asking for help. Peer pressure received by others may cause your child to be uncomfortable showing they do not understand a concept. Other children may be too shy to ask their teacher for clarification in front of the classroom.

Parents, guardians, and educators can normalize asking for help.

Make your home or classroom a safe place for children to ask questions. Children feel safe and comfortable to ask questions when they feel heard and respected. Ensure your environment is inviting and that children have a say about what goes into it. Encourage children to ask questions and show them the benefits of asking questions.

Make asking questions fun. Create a game (Ask the Expert or Helping Puzzles) or question wall and children will be more likely to participate vs. asking students if they have questions. With the wall, students can write their questions on sticky notes, and the adult can answer them when there is time.

As the adult, give each question the attention needed, answer the question, and express how it’s added value. Be sure to emphasize that because of the questions asked, you as the adult have a better understanding of how to support them. Another benefit can come from an in-depth discussion that can further enhance children’s understanding. 

Also, be a role model and ask for help yourself. Display to children that you also rely on asking questions and often need help. This is a great time to speak with children and share personal examples of when you’ve asked for help. Doing so can display that even adults must ask for help and is appropriate to ask questions. As an adult, showing vulnerability to children further develops a safe and nurturing place to place for children to excel.

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