When parents have a lot on their plate, kids can help! Here are five simple ways to lighten someone else’s load and feel good about being your best self.

Illustration © Debbie Fong, excerpted from How to Be a Person

Are your parents kind of . . . freaking out? We thought so. You can help! Seriously. You can really, really, actually help. While you’re home from school — when you’re not doing your schoolwork, obviously — you can learn new skills to make your home a happier place to be! Caretaking skills, cleaning skills, cooking skills, like some of the ones we’re showing you here.

Plus, do you know what dopamine is? It’s a neurochemical your brain makes to make you feel happy. Some researchers have shown that when you perform basic important life-sustaining activities (like cooking, cleaning, and gardening), your brain rewards you with dopamine! And other researchers have suggested that when you volunteer to help, your brain, again, makes dopamine. In other words, a lot of the stuff we tend to think of as chores can be truly rewarding. One thing we know: asking “What can I do to help?” is a sure way to be your best self.

1. Help keep things clean.

2. Help prepare food.

3. Help with the dishes.

4. Help take care of the animals in the house.

5. Help everyone rest a little easier.

Text and illustrations excerpted from How to Be a Person © 2020 by Catherine Newman. Illustrations © Debbie Fong. All rights reserved.

Catherine Newman

Catherine Newman is the author of Waiting for Birdy, Catastrophic Happiness, and One Mixed-Up Night, and the coauthor of Stitch Camp. She is the etiquette columnist… See Bio

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How to Be a Person

by Catherine Newman

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