Sometimes it can feel like we’re just grasping at straws when it comes to raising our children right. Teaching your kids responsibility can seem extremely difficult, but these simple tips will successfully help you raise responsible young adults with minimal stress and frustration on your part.
Before we start, I just want to preface by saying that if you’re a stay-at-home parent, you are absolutely NOT allowed to feel guilty for having your kids do chores that you are capable of doing yourself. The point of being a parent is not to cater to your child’s every need, but rather to teach them how to fend for themselves so that the transition from responsible child to responsible adult will be painless. That being said – here are some helpful tips for teaching your child to be responsible.
1.) Start them early! Try to start teaching your child responsibility at a young age. Toddler age is best. If you wait too long to start teaching your child – it’ll only confuse them and make it a more painful process. So don’t wait!
2.) Teach with your actions. Don’t just TALK to your child about responsibility – show them through your actions! Use the word “we” a lot, like saying this when you’re done with dinner: “Okay..now we’re all going to put our dishes in the sink.” Ask loved ones and babysitters to do the same so that there’s no confusion.
3.) Let kids help you. Kids actually like to help! They like to feel useful and important. Make them feel like they’re needed and that they have an important role to play by asking them to help! You’ll be surprised at how willing they are.
4.) Edify and thank your children. Positive reinforcement is key. Say things like: “I’m so proud of you for doing _____!” or “Thank you for _____!” They’ll develop a sense of ownership for these tasks and it’ll build their confidence. It’ll also help them take initiative when at school or in other situations.
5.) Give them praise, time, and self-confidence rather than rewards. There is a time and place for rewards, but this is not it. Give them your time and boost their self-confidence with praise and positive edification instead.
6.) Teach about consequences by enforcing rules. Consistency is key for this point. If your child refuses to pick up their toys, calmly let them know that as a consequence, they won’t be able to play with these toys the next day if he leaves them out. This makes it their choice and reinforces the value of responsibility.
7.) Provide a structured routine with a positive end. Kids thrive on structure. Instead of offering rewards, set a positive end to their routine. For example, your child must eat breakfast, put their dishes in the sink, and brush their teeth before playing their favorite game. The game is not the reward, but rather the end of the routine.
8.) Recognize effort rather than perfection. Your child may not make their bed perfectly, but it is the effort involved that counts. Don’t expect perfection! Eventually they’ll learn the value of a job well done, but right now what counts is that they’re making a good effort.
Instilling responsibility in your child may seem hard, but what about parenting is easy? Teach your child responsibility now, and it just may end up being one of the greatest gifts you could give them. Follow these tips to help raise your child into a responsible adult.
Check out our Parenting Resources section at JM Cremps for books designed to make your parenting adventure a little easier and more enjoyable!