Monday, February 23

HOW TO: Teach Children Responsibility

Your teenage son comes home from school and calls you to his room for help. He has placed all his dirty clothes in the laundry basket and he needs help carrying it all to the laundry room downstairs.

Your daughter in kindergarten finishes dinner and puts her dishes in the sink.

Teaching children responsibility fosters valuable life skills. Responsibility is not just about completing a task -- it is about attitude. Teach your children about taking action and being proud of themselves. Once that attitude becomes ingrained, children will begin to take responsibility for tasks without reminders from their parents and they will feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing tasks independently.  

Here are some helpful tips on how to incorporate responsibility into your child’s life:

Begin Early
It may be difficult to suddenly expect responsibility from your teenager if that has not been the norm for them during their younger years. It’s much easier if you teach responsibility from the start. For example, you can begin by teaching your toddler to not only play with their toys, but to also put them back in their place when they’re done playing.

Set a Good Example
One of the best ways to teach responsible behavior is to be a good role model. For example, you can always try to place your personal belongings in their proper places – such as always hanging your coat on the coat rack or placing your keys in the key tray. You can always clean up after yourself in any situation – such as placing your plate and eating utensils in the sink after each meal. While you complete your tasks, talk about it with your children: “Let’s go put our dishes in the sink and wash them up!” 

Let Them Help You 
Invite your child to participate in helping you complete tasks. This will both reinforce the positive sense of accomplishment and can also serve as quality time spent together. Make the task a part of a team effort and help them feel that they have ownership so they feel valued and proud. Do it with a smile! 

Show Them the Way 
Help your child along by giving tasks according to his/her skill level and be there to provide them guidance and assistance. For example, you can provide your toddler with a toy bin and then demonstrate where the toys go after they are done playing with them. As another example, provide your elementary aged child with a clothing hamper in their room. It is important for parents to pave the way by providing both guidance and the necessary tools to succeed.

Remember to be positive and consistent when helping your child manage responsibility. Teaching responsibility may not be easy, but it will provide your child with a feeling of accomplishment and with skills and good habits that will last a lifetime.

Contributed by Natasha, Fairmont Private Schools
Image from: About Parenting

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