Everyone wants responsible kids. Kids who can look after themselves and their belongings, who take ownership of their actions, and are able to do things without being told–sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? But how do you actually teach your kids something like responsibility and being responsible? It’s not as simple as sitting your kids down, talking about it, and voila, they’re suddenly responsible. Nope, not gonna happen. No matter how hard we wish. To help you out, we listed down a few tips to help get you started. Check them out below!
Things like fixing their toys after they play with them, saying please and thank you, and carrying their dishes to the kitchen are simple tasks that you can give them. Once they get used to the routine, you can assign other responsibilities. Just make sure the tasks you assign are age-appropriate. (You can’t expect a child to answer the phone and turn off the stove!) Let your kids know why their responsibilities are important and how they can contribute too. For example, fixing their toys keeps the house clean and contributes to the general cleanliness of the house. Plus, it makes momma feel good too!
Instead of yelling, telling, or ordering our kids to do this or do that, give your kids opportunities to think for themselves. Instead of shouting “Brush your teeth!” or “Don’t forget to hang your towel up!”, maybe you can ask your kids “What else can you do to get ready for bed?” This will engage their little minds and have them actually think of what else they can do, instead of simply following what mommy says.
If we ask our kids to set the dining table, they probably will be much slower at it, might mix up the forks and spoons, and might even drop some dishes. It would be so much easier to do it ourselves, right? After all, we know how we want the table to be set and there’s less chance of us breaking anything. But moms, we have to resist! We have to remember to give our kids chances and experiences to learn how to do things on their own, like cleaning their rooms, packing their bags, etc. We can help them occasionally, but we have to learn to beat the temptation of just doing and fixing everything ourselves.
If you let your kids think for themselves and do things on their own, one way or another, there are bound to be some mistakes. Make sure that your kids know that there is a no-blame atmosphere in your home; that way, they can have the freedom to think and do things on their own, without the fear of being blamed for it if something goes wrong. No one wants to be blamed for anything, and if you start throwing accusations at your kids, they won’t be doing things out of responsibility but out of fear or avoidance.
If you want your kids to learn the practice of cleaning up after themselves, assigning that responsibility for a day just won’t cut it. Kids need to do it repeatedly for the action to become a practice. Provide them with daily avenues to do their tasks, and consequences if they don’t get it done. Sooner or later, they won’t even think about it and just do it.
You don’t have to think of elaborate games! Just start a conversation at the dinner table with “What would you do if…” and provide different scenarios like “you accidentally left your homework at home” or “fought with your brother.” Then listen and comment on what your kids will say. If your child says, “I’d call mom and ask her to bring my homework to school,” you can reply with “But what if I’m not at home? What would you tell your teacher?” Slowly guide them to the responsible response that you’re looking for.
Yes, moms. You will forever and always be the person your kids look up to. (So if you haven’t figured it out that you are the example your kids all strive to be like, well… at least now you know!) Teaching them how to be responsible not only comes from what you tell them to do, but how you act as well.