How to Ask for and Receive Help

Are you always willing to help others but you don’t like asking for help?

Ask for Help

Caring for yourself is one of the most important, yet one of the most often forgotten, things you can do as a parent or a caregiver. 

Caring for others is one of the most selfless things someone can do, and asking for help might feel selfish or daunting. According to Psychology Today, we live “in a society that praises self-help and self-reliance, [and] it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to ask our colleagues, friends, and even our family for the assistance we need. The mere thought of asking for help can eat away at our ego, undermine our confidence, make us question our abilities, and even paralyze us with anxiety.”

However, accepting help is necessary because when you take care of your own needs, the person (or people) you care for will benefit, too.

Make it a Habit

Allowing those around you to help you not only eases your responsibility load, but it can give someone who is helping a feeling of worth. Here are a few ways to make asking for and receiving help a habit:

  • Say yes. When someone offers to help you with a task, practice saying yes. Even if it seems like a mundane task, such as making a meal or picking up your child from school, it’s one less thing you have on your plate.
  • Examine your beliefs on receiving. For example:
  • What’s stopping you from accepting help from others?
  • Do you feel that you don’t deserve to receive love or help? If so, why do you feel that way?
  • Give others the opportunity to give. It takes two to give and receive, and consistently rejecting help from those who are willing can create roadblocks in a relationship.
  • Let those you trust know when you feel like you’re approaching the point of needing help or a step back. Give them time to prepare themselves so that they can be more effective when you do reach out.

Make a List of Helpers

Spend some time thinking about the friends, neighbors, or family members in your life who you consider your support team. Ask them if it’s ok to count on them for support when you need it. 

It could help to keep a handy list of people who you know are willing to help with certain tasks – such as meal planning, child care, moral support, or other specific tasks. Also keep a list of people who have offered their help to you at some point. Even though you might never call upon these people, having the tangible proof that you are surrounded by support can ease stress.

Download a PDF to help keep track of your helpers.

Series Navigation

The Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Series highlights several early childhood topics to support parents and caregivers who are caring for young children. Use the list below to navigate through each series topic:

Learn more about the series.

Request free printed materials from our Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Series.


Picture: A young baby looks up at the camera.
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