How To Teach Responsibility To Your Kids

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It is probably safe to assume that every good parent wants to raise a responsible child. Nothing makes a parent happier than training their little ones to open their study books, pick that dirty sock from the floor, and do the dishes. But raising a responsible child is more than getting them to do chores unsupervised - it is about teaching them to be prepared for adult life. So, how do you raise your kids to be more responsible? These tips should help.

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Reward responsible behavior 

Don’t underestimate the power of rewards. It plays a considerable role in nurturing responsibility in children. Take the time to observe and reward responsible behaviors. Doing this will help encourage them to continue in that direction. However, be sure not to give your child the impression that they need to be responsible to receive rewards. Children can do anything to please their parents if that will earn them something. Rewards should not always mean a gift, as they can also be in the form of a note of approval. Most children love to impress their parents and make them proud. When your child believes that you think highly of them, they do their best to rise to the occasion. Sometimes, a simple sentence like “I’m proud of you” can be all the reward your child needs.

Assign specific chores

One of the most effective ways to teach your little one about responsibility is to give them something to be responsible for, even at a very young age. A good example is to give them chores or responsibilities at home. From something as simple (well, simple to you) as doing the dishes after meals to taking out the trash, chores help to build a sense of responsibility in their minds. However, it is crucial to ensure that you assign roles they can take on, depending on your child’s age. Additionally, you can also nurture the experience of working for pay, instead of giving them everything they ask for. For example, they can wash the car, tend the garden, babysit their little siblings, etc. Believe it or not, few settings can teach a child about responsibility than working for pay. 

Improve your own habits

Children naturally learn from their parents. They love to copy or mimic what their parents do, even when they don’t understand what their words or actions mean. That means that your behavior as a parent is one of the most effective ways of teaching your child about responsibility. Are you always late for work or appointments? Do you always forget to pick up the groceries or take out the trash? Do you leave your bedroom unkempt and untidy? Is it a case of “do as I say, and not as I do” in your home? Remember that your child is observing your day-to-day actions and learning from you, even when you are not watching. Are you a model of responsible behavior for your little one?

Don’t be in a hurry to bail them out of difficult situations

You love your child and will do anything to ensure that they are happy and comfortable. And for many parents, that means coming to the child’s rescue immediately they find themselves in a difficult situation. Although you intend to help your child, you may be promoting an unhealthy principle that suggests that you will always be responsible for their actions. Be available to help them solve problems, help them with their studies, support them through their fears, etc., but let them take the first step in handling their problems. Is there a complex math equation they want an answer to? Guide them through it instead of providing the answer. Did they get in trouble with the neighbor’s kids? Let them handle the problem, whether it means rendering an apology or making amends in another way.

Keeping rooms tidy

You may consider this as a chore, but teaching your child to keep their rooms tidy is a whole approach on its own. Doing the dishes and taking out the trash is excellent for getting a child responsible. But if they cannot take responsibility for their personal spaces, it will be challenging to do the same for other duties. It is never too early to teach your children to keep their rooms tidy. Take the time to show them how to fold and put things away or dress their beds as early as possible. This simple act can pave the way for them to take on other responsibilities at home. 

Set reminders, not warnings

You can’t bet on your child to always remember to handle their chores, do their assignments, or complete tasks you set for them. Most children naturally will prefer to do more fun activities, and it is your duty, as a parent, to remind them about their tasks. Instead of warning the child not to forget their tasks or duties, set reminders for them. For example, instead of barking every morning at your child to tidy their room or brush their teeth, you could ask, “what do you have to do after waking up?” The goal here is not to ‘punish’ them with tasks but instead train them to build a responsible attitude throughout their growing years. 

Make them feel included

Children don’t want to feel left behind or ignored. But in many instances, that tends to be the case, especially with the arrival of a new baby. Some parents get so excited or too busy raising a newbie that they ‘ignore’ the feelings or needs of the other child without realizing it. And that may breed a feeling of rejection or even rebellion in that child. Parents expecting new babies should find ways to make their other kids feel part of the whole process. For example, let them bring unique gender reveal party ideas, name ideas, etc. Also, after birth, give them minor roles in helping to take care of the new baby. The whole idea is to ensure that they don’t feel left out. 


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