Asking for Help

One of our goals for Belle is to have her ask for help instead of whine and cry when she can’t do something on her own. It could be putting on her own shoes, it could be moving something heavy, and in the kitchen, it’s frequently something like turning on the faucet.

Now, given a tall enough chair, Belle can turn on the water herself. She prefers her toddler furniture, though, and can’t quite reach on that chair.

When she starts with a whine, we ask “do you need help?” paired with a sign for “help me.”

When she starts with “wash,” “water,” or “hot/cold,” we say, “oh, do you need help washing your hands?” paired with signs for help and wash.

We’re listening for an approximation of “help” or a two word phrase like “yes wash” or “mama wash” – though any speech will be rewarded with praise (“ok! I’ll help you wash”) and the faucet turned on. If she whines in response, we quickly say something like, “I don’t know what that means,” then repeat “do you need help?”

This kind of modeling went on for months before we saw much of a response, but she’s recently started saying “help” repeatedly with an approximation of the sign. Now we’re using the same set up to work on expanding the request to something closer to, “Mama, please help me with ____”!

Recipes that work on asking for help:

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