Raising kids is a job that never ends no matter how old they get. However, in the early stages of their life, it is key that you instill certain attitudes and values in them that will hopefully stick as they grow. Every parent has different values that they’d like to instill in their children, and it’s usually based on ones they’ve adopted by themselves or family values that have been passed down.
A common one that people often want their kids to learn is responsibility. If you’ve got young children and are thinking of ways that you can begin teaching them this, then you may find the 6 tips below pretty useful.
Give Them Chores
To begin, one of the easiest ways to teach your kids responsibility is by allocating chores to them. Every age group has chores that are most suitable for them, so think about what chores are best for their respective ages. There are several age-appropriate chore ideas to think about, and most should be relatively easy. If, for instance, your child is 2 to 3, then they can put away their toys, put clothes in the hamper, pile books, and magazines, or dust. On the other hand, if they’re between the ages of 4 and 5, making the bed, emptying wash baskets, clearing the table, watering flowers, or washing plastic dishes at the sink may be good ideas. Kids that are within the age range of 8-9 can do more adult-like tasks such as vacuuming, putting away groceries, putting away their own laundry, washing the table after meals, and sewing buttons back onto their clothes. You should also be careful to avoid putting your expectations for them too high, insisting on perfection, procrastinating, and being inconsistent about it.
Let Them Help You
Aside from allocating chores, letting kids help you is another way to teach them responsibility. There are numerous things that you do on a daily basis so ensuring they shadow you and help out where appropriate can be a great way of starting out. Some ideas of things they can help with are doing the laundry, washing the dishes, cleaning the car, and tidying up the living room. As mentioned above, some things are more appropriate for certain age groups than others, but you can use your discretion as a parent to decide which chore is most appropriate for them. Another key tip is being enthusiastic when it’s time to do housework so that they are happy to help, and more inclined to do chores of their own.
Get Them a Pet
Looking after pets can be a lot of work, and anyone who has one can likely tell you that. However, they are also an excellent way to introduce your kids to responsibility. Some pets are higher maintenance than others, so if it’s your first time getting a family pet and you’re a busy family, then you may want to start with something such as a goldfish. Whatever the case, allocate tasks to your kids that they’re responsible for in terms of taking care of the pet. It could be cleaning up after them, preparing their food, keeping them entertained, or helping you keep them clean if it’s a cat or dog. Additionally, if it’s a pet that requires vet visits for regular checkups, you could make it their responsibility to follow you to register them at a vet such as Shuler Veterinary Clinic as well as attend appointments with you when they need checkups.
Let them do Food Prep
Teaching kids to cook is a key skill that should stick with them for a lifetime and also teach them responsibility. For this reason, you can begin letting them help you in the kitchen as early as possible. Some tips for teaching kids to cook are striking a deal and allowing them to choose what they want to prepare from time to time, exploring a range of foods such as snacks smoothies, salads, and sandwiches, teaching them about different foods and cultures, as well as taking the opportunity to boost their confidence and self-esteem. Also, try to relax and not be too anxious or tense as kids can pick up on that. For safety reasons, perhaps start with relatively easy foods like sandwiches and teaching them to pour their own cereal. It’s also important that you caution them about hazards such as knives and hot stoves to avoid any accidents.
Kids learn by example, so when teaching them responsibility, emulating it is equally as important. This means that you should try and make it your prerogative to do what you tell your kids to do. If, for instance, you’re teaching them to always fold their clothes before putting them away in the closet, throwing yours in without folding isn’t teaching them a good example. It can be hard at times as you as a parent aren’t perfect but trying your best at all times is key. When you do fall short, it’s also important that you’re able to acknowledge this as that helps teach your kids responsibility as well.
Acknowledge Their Efforts
It is important that while teaching your kids how to be responsible, you equally give them a healthy dose of acknowledgment for their efforts or praise. Positive reinforcement can prove to be an effective way of teaching your kids that they’re both important and appreciated. To be more specific you can tell them exactly how they’ve helped you or anyone else so that they’re encouraged to continue that positive behavior. Remember to avoid being critical but instead acknowledge what they did right and then suggest how they could improve next time.
Teaching your kids to be responsible definitely has several long-term benefits. For one, it increases the chances of them evolving into a responsible adult as well as a citizen. This means that they’ll be able to own their actions, manage things around them, and understand the role they play in various scenarios. On that note, remember that it’s never too early to start teaching them responsibility and you can begin with the things.