Helping your children learn to be responsible is one of your most important tasks as a parent. However, it is not easy, and can be incredibly frustrating and time consuming. Here are 6 tips for teaching your children how to be responsible.
Help Them Understand Value
For starters, helping your children understand value is one of the best ways to teach them responsibility. More often than not, children have a lack of responsibility because they don’t understand its value to them.
For you as the parent, the value of responsibility is a lot different than it is to your child. However, at the end of the day, you both want the same thing.
For example, lets say that you just bought a nice pair of children’s soccer cleats for your kid. You would like them to be responsible for the cleats, taking care of them and not losing them. You spent money on the shoes, and don’t want to see them lost or mistreated.
More than likely, your child has similar feelings as you do for those cleats, albeit often times from a different perspective. Your kid doesn’t want to see the cleats lost or damaged either. They just might not see how taking their cleats out of their bag after practice has anything to do with this.
As you help your child to see the value that comes with being responsible, you can begin to unlock their mind towards taking care of what is important.
Model Responsible Behavior
Children are sponges, soaking up and mimicking the behavior they see around them. Their ability to quickly learn is amazing, and this presents as much of an opportunity for you as the parent as it does a risk.
Perhaps the single best way to teach your children responsibility is to be responsible. Model consistently responsible behavior, and your children will follow.
Here are a few tips for modeling responsibility:
- Do what you say. Even in the little things. If you say you’re going to vacuum that day, follow through and do it.
- Be on time. Obviously it isn’t possible to always be on time, but whenever you can control it, show your child that timeliness is a form of responsibility.
- Have balance in your life. Try to strike a balance between work and play, family time and friend time, exercise and relaxation, and enjoyment and volunteering.
Implement a Structure
We might fight structure as adults, but children love it. Not only do they love structure, but most children thrive under structure. If you’re looking for an easy to help your children take on more responsibility, create some structure around it.
Have deadlines to the chores you assign, and outline for your children how you want the chores to be done. Give each chore a 5 step process that you child can check off each and every time they execute it.
Show your child what a job well done looks like, and even create structure around what it looks like to go above and beyond.
Believe it or not, the structure frees up your child to focus on getting the responsibility complete, rather than worrying about how to do it or when to do it.
Dole Out Age Appropriate Responsibility
If you’re a parent that suffers from having too high of expectations from your children, chances are you could benefit from assigning age appropriate chores.
Its easy to forget what life was like at different stages of growing up. If your goal is to teach your child about responsibility, then its actually less about the task and more about what they learn.
As such, consider giving your child easier tasks that are more age appropriate. They will accomplish them easier and learn responsibility faster.
Don’t Solve Their Problems
Its easy to want to answer every question your child has, whether about a mundane task or a detailed intricacy about life. Whenever possible, though, consider encouraging your child to find the answer themselves.
Obviously there will always be situations where it makes more sense to answer for them. But, whenever it isn’t critical, give your children room to solve their own problems, and learn from their failures.
Children learn more from this approach, and develop responsibility along the way.
Be Positive and Encouraging
Above all else, it is essential that you maintain a positive and encouraging attitude throughout the process of teaching your children responsibility. It can be frustrating at times, and more than likely will take longer than you hope. But, your children will respond better to you tackling the situation with an encouraging attitude, rather than getting frustrated or angry.
Teaching children responsibility is not easy, and takes a lot of time and patience. However, the long term rewards that come from responsible children makes the entire process worthwhile.