As parents, one of our main goals is to teach our children to be responsible. We have about 18 years to work on it, but it starts young. It's not like one day when they reach adulthood, they are just magically responsible... they learn that from us... they are always watching & always learning.
So how on earth do we get them to be responsible? What is the magic key? The magic phase? The magic list? Sorry- we don't have that... and no one does, but what we do have are tips that, when put together, work out to give you all of the components of raising a responsible child. :)
- Target one area at a time. If you want to teach your kids to clear the table, work on that. Teach them, step by step. Just like learning to read, they have to be taught, step by step. "First we take the condiments back. Next, we take our dishes and throw the food into the trash..."
- Repetition, repetition! The more they practice, the easier they catch on.
- Model the behavior for them and as you do, talk about how you clean up after yourself. I think that the best thing you will ever do for your child is be the person that you want them to be. Your child will imitate you.
- Put together a chart with the pre-bed routine or wake up routine. You can find printable like this in our printable library. Use images if the chi ld does not read.
- Stop doing everything for them. It sounds simple but it is true. So often we want the kids to take on more responsibility, but then we continue to do everything for them!
- As they get older, give them a new responsibility and a new privilege. Think of their life like a funnel - start small, with little "freedom", so to speak... let them earn that right. As they prove their responsibility, they earn more privileges. By the time they are 18, they will have earned many privileges and learned many character traits from you.
- Praise them when you see them being responsible! So many kids have "Words of Affirmation" as their love language, so be sure to remind them often that you love seeing them taking care of things that need to be done.
- Avoid rewarding with a physical item as you want them to learn to be responsible without that expectation.
- Be mindful of what age/stage your child is. Are your expectations too high? Too low?
- Start from when they are young! Kids can catch on early! Start young! Start now.
What about you?
How do you teach your kids responsibility? Leave us an example in the comments.