You have many jobs as a parent, but one of the most crucial ones is being a teacher 24/7. While you have a daunting task on your hands – to teach your children many things in countless aspects of life, one of the most invaluable tools you can provide them with is teaching responsibility. If you have a hard time discovering how to approach this, here are 10 strategies to help your kids become more responsible.
They need to start young
If you want to teach your children about responsibility, you definitely need to start young. Specifying the age when you should begin introducing them into a world of responsibility isn’t easy, but they should be aware of the fact that they need to tackle what society requires of them – i.e. homework, gym class, etc. – before they start elementary school.
Teach them to be active
The direct approach is not always the best way. You cannot simply tell your kids to be responsible and explain to them what that means – responsibility is a part of a bigger spectrum of thought processes and behavior and it all begins with activity. You have to teach your children to be active participants in a variety of activities.
Physical exercise plays a crucial role
Being responsible for your life also means being responsible for your own body. One of the most natural strategies to teach your children about responsibility is to enroll them in a sports club. By attaining physical discipline through regular exercise, they will also learn how to become responsible.
Do not help if they can handle issues themselves
If your children are asking for your help too much, you might want to reconsider your approach. They need to learn to be self-sufficient and the best way to do that is to force them to own up to their responsibilities and situations. It is a through matter to balance, but as long as you are absolutely sure they can handle it themselves, outright refuse to help. You should especially avoid resolving the issues that your children have with their peers.
Teach them orderliness
Orderliness is one of many traits that define responsible people. While they are still in kindergarten, they need to practice making their own bed and cleaning their room. They also need to learn how to be organized, especially when the school begins. They should have categorized pen jars on their work desk – one for pencils, other for pens, additional for coloring brushes and one for permanent markers and other felt pens.
The mindset strategy
No child in their right mind enjoys chores and responsibilities. To put them in the right mindset, you need to teach them that this is completely normal and that they don’t have to like it – the result is what they are after. Responsibility is about results that lead them to a better life, and you should really do your best to explain this to them in the simplest way possible.
The reward system
Of course, in order to encourage good behavior, you need to establish some sort of reward system, but it needs to be reasonable. For example, a reward for each chore might not be a good idea, but a reward for a set of chores is the way to go. Reward your kids with things that are actually productive and good for them. For example, promise them an afternoon at the local public pool instead of a pack of candy if they clean their entire room thoroughly.
Structure makes all the difference
All people respond well to structured life. It reduces stretch and anxiety and gives purpose. Familiar routine one can settle in is the best way to lead them to a content life and children are no different – if you provide them with structured daily routine, they will accept responsibilities that come their way much easier.
Avoid counterproductive labels
If your child fails at behaving responsibly, you should definitely avoid counterproductive labels. For example, calling them “irresponsible” constantly is something that will most likely turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Words matter and encouraging your children with the right vocabulary can actually save them.
Teach them to create a schedule
Finally, while you should assist your child in structuring their life – after all, there is only so much responsibility they can bear while they are really young – you should communicate clearly that you expect them to write down their own schedule and take responsibility when it comes to memorizing obligations and appointments. If they start creating their own schedule as soon as they elementary school, and do that of their own volition, you are golden.
Tabula rasa is an expression often used to describe the mind of children – in other words, they are blank slates, but only for a short while, and you need to use the opportunity to build some invaluable cornerstones into their mind before it develops. If you start teaching them responsibility at an early age, they will grow into capable and fine individuals that are ready to tackle all the life’s challenges.