4 simple ways to teach responsibility to your kids.
4 simple ways to teach responsibility to your kids.
One of the most commonly expected traits that parents want inculcated in their children is responsibility. In order to be responsible as an adult, children need to be taught responsibility from an early age.
So what is responsibility, and what does it mean to be responsible?
Being responsible is one of the most important factors that influence children’s success both at school and in the larger world as they grow up to be adults.
However, responsibility is not just one thing, but a combination of many things. Being dependable, keeping one’s word, doing things to the best of their ability, acknowledging mistakes, accepting credit, being accountable for their behavior, meeting commitments, being a contributing member of the family, community, and society are all different things which come together to make a person responsible.
Why is it important to teach children to be responsible?
We live in a busy world where each one has their own tasks and lives to lead. In order to make it easier for ourselves and others, being responsible is important. A world where everybody is accountable for their own actions, where children are raised to be responsible and are taught not to shrug off their responsibilities as a person will make the world a more peaceful and efficient place to live in.
As parents, we make it a point to teach our children good values, ethics, respect, kindness, et cetera. Similarly, one of the most important lessons we can teach our children is responsibility.
At Sherwood High, we believe that teaching your children to be responsible adults may not be the easiest thing to do, but is a necessary thing to begin right from a very early age. An individual with a highly developed sense of personal responsibility is likely to do well in school, succeed at work, and thrive in the society at large.
A quality that shows up in every area of life is having a sense of responsibility because people who are responsible are the people whom we can count on and can be trusted. We all want friends, neighbors, colleagues and bosses who are responsible.
So how can we instill a sense of responsibility in our children?
1. Begin Early:
Teaching responsibility to a teenager suddenly out of the blue is going to be an uphill task that may not even reach fruition. Trying to imbibe or teach any good habit from an early age has its own set of advantages.
What we mean here is not letting little children take up complete ownership of tasks or giving children full responsibility for chores or homework et cetera. It is rather about starting to teach your children to grasp the basics of what responsibility is all about.
As most children love to help parents around the house or during grocery shopping or event planning, use this time to your advantage and teach small responsibilities to your children.
Also, provide ample opportunities where your child can think independently and can probably make small decisions for themselves. To encourage this, you can start setting simple tasks, which you are aware that your child is capable of completing by themselves. This will ensure that your child knows they are capable of doing certain tasks by themselves and will eventually prepare them for bigger responsibilities later as they grow.
2. Set age-appropriate expectations:
One of the most simple ways of teaching responsibility to children can be through household chores. Every time there is a task at hand, you can think of something that your child can do without too much difficulty and with clear instructions about what to do, encourage your child to help you according to their age.
Taking up these kinds of simple chores on your instructions over your supervision, will not only help your child become responsible but can also raise their self-esteem every time they complete a task successfully.
Always be sure to provide clear instructions when you’re dealing with toddlers and pre-teens. For example, you can simply ask your teenager to clean the room, but the same request may be very daunting to a smaller child. In such cases, be specific and give them tasks involving several steps, such as tidying their clothes, making their beds, putting their toys away, arranging their books, and so on.
The most important aspect when it comes to teaching children responsibility at home using simple tasks is to provide frequent, concrete and clear feedback and appreciation. When children cannot complete the task on their own, it could be to finish their homework on their own or packing up their bags according to their timetable for the next day. Explain to your children precisely what worked well and what did not, while giving them a chance to fix their mistakes again the next day by themselves under your supervision.
3. Teach children accountability:
While it may seem like a laborious task to hold your children accountable when they do not meet their responsibility, enforcing accountability is essential to raise them as a responsible individual. When parents hold children accountable, it does not have to be in a negative light, because the act of being held accountable promotes a willingness to meet responsibilities in the future.
When parents don’t hold their children accountable or don’t follow through on the set consequences, it only further promotes more irresponsibility in the children. It re-emphasises to the children that their lies, excuses and justification work just fine for them in their effort to avoid taking up responsibility for themselves or their actions and behavior.
To get your children to clean up after they play, you can inform them that they won’t be able to play again with their toys, crayons, or clay again until a certain day if they leave the place messy. You need to then follow through your words and take away their toys if they shirk their responsibilities. So the more you enforce consequences and rules, the more likely they are to clean up without being asked, eventually.
For smaller children, what you can do is teach them by doing a task yourself or by helping them do a task along with them rather than doing it yourself. For example, if you’re teaching your child to pack their bags for the next day, sit with them and teach them how to put their books in their bag according to their timetable, create a checklist for all the things to be carried, and so on. Eventually, they’ll learn to take care of their responsibilities better.
For little older kids, you can still work with consequence so if your child forgets to pack their paint for an art class the next day, they would simply not get to paint or practice their art. This will make children more cognisant of remembering their responsibilities the next time they are doing some task.
4. Model responsibility:
As we always say, one of the best ways we can teach children anything is to lead by example. Show your children how responsible you are by taking good care of your own space and your own things and explain to them why you are doing it that way. For example, when you’re back from the office, you can put your jacket on the hanger, your bag on your workstation and your keys in the keyholder and explain to them that you put things in their proper place so that they are easily accessible and easy to find whenever you are looking for them.
If you’re among those who are perpetually late to work and are constantly searching for things, it’s about time you change things around the house. As your children learn through watching and not so much just listening. Even when your children see that you are dedicated to working on improving your own habits, your children will likely follow the same.
Always make sure that you show your children how to clean up after themselves. As they keep seeing you model responsibility, it will encourage them to do the same eventually because youngsters pay attention to everything we do more than we say, so no matter how young or old your children may model appropriate behavior through your own acts.
One of the most important skills children can learn when they are young is learning how to meet responsibilities. If we teach them responsibility from a younger age, they will have a thorough understanding of the relationship between responsibilities and accountability as they grow older. When children develop personal responsibility, they have their best chance of avoiding many uncertain situations and pitfalls in life, making them better able to deal with inevitable challenges in life as they get older.
Remember that responsibility cannot be taught in a single day. It is also important to understand that some children are conscientious while some are not so much, and conscientiousness is a trait. So, like any other basic traits, some of us can have more of it than others, but through experience, we can alter this inclination, but only to a certain extent.
So respect where your child actually started and encourage their journey because as long as children are becoming increasingly responsible compared to their own starting points, they are progressing well. As encouraging responsibility is essential but excessively pressuring children can deteriorate their progress.