I am 'guilty' of doing this so often. It's offering Otis the opportunity to 'help' me rather than creating the environment for him to do it himself.
We see and read this all the time 'this is X helping in the kitchen, this is Y helping in the garden, isn't she/he such a good little helper'.
Do they really want to always be helping? I'd suggest not.
I know there are times for helping, there are environments and experiences when helping is fun and necessary and the child is learning something new.
However give the child the opportunity, give them the environment where they don't have to ask for permission, where they don't have to ask for any help what-so-ever, I think they would take it.
I also believe our (young) children need more of these opportunities. It's not just about us as the parent/care giver stepping back or allowing them, it's for us to create - where possible the environment that enables the child - the environment is empowering and allowing the child to fully participate without the adult, independently in mind and body - the child can choose the work (be inspired to do the work) and can then do it.
On our top deck Otis has his own potted garden. It's been his right from the start and besides some odd pieces of advice we don't touch it. He doesn't help in the garden. He looks after his own garden. He loves that level of independence and that level of responsibility.
I know people would say that their child would dig up the garden or not water the plants. But it's not about the garden. It is about that special spot, that place that each parent can reach with their own child where the child doesn't have to be invited to work, where the child can be trusted, where the environment is just what the child needs.
This story is (inadvertently) also about Otis' outside water tank. Previously he was always asking for help to refill his watering can. I knew the environment wasn't quite right, he could aways get water from inside but it was too much, too labour intensive. Today I found the right solution - this blue tank which allows Otis to water his garden easily and creates this independent outside environment.
Now I'm thinking about other areas of work where I'm often inviting Otis to help. I am sure there is more we can do.