Adulthood may be a long way off for your child, but that doesn’t stop you from thinking about your some-day-grown-up-kid on a daily basis. You want, more than anything, for them to be self-sufficient, accountable and successful.
Learning how to be responsible takes time, but it can be done! By incorporating our 5 tips into your daily routines, you may find it a little easier.
Let Them Help
It seems simple, but it’s not! Your instinct as a parent is to provide for your child, and your instinct as a human being is to make sure your household tasks are done as quickly and thoroughly as possible. This means that when your child offers to help with the dishes, images of broken plates littering the floor flash through your head. You’re tempted to say, “No, it’s okay!” but resist!
When your child offers to help with a task, let them. They’ll be watching and learning from you, even when you’re not actively walking them through how to wash a plate.
When in doubt, take into account your child’s age and abilities. Maybe their share of the duties could include gathering the (unbreakable) silverware from the table. If you’re having trouble deciding which household tasks are appropriate for your child, check out our post on chores for kids.
Offer Praise, but Avoid Rewards
Bribery – it’s a common tactic upon parents, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good one! After-all, your some-day grown up kid may be shocked to find that they no longer receive a treat for doing their laundry. As parents, we need to teach our children that the reward is in the completion of a task.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer praise! In fact, you should – and often! Make sure to complement your child for a job well done and to point out the sequence of events that follows a chore. “Look! Now that you’ve cleaned up the kitchen, we can use the kitchen table for an art project!” This will help your child to learn the importance of responsibility.
Let Them Handle Consequences
When your child is a little older, they’ll have homework. Lots of it. That means lots and lots of binders and papers and pencils that they’ll need to remember to bring with them back to school in the morning.
Now, they will forget sometimes. That much is certain. But it’s important for you to know when to help, and when to stand back and let them learn. Sure, the first couple of times they forget their homework, you can hop in your car and bring them their wayward assignments. However, after that, you’re going to need to let them learn exactly what happens when they forget something they were responsible for.
Provide Structure and Routine
This is key. When dinner is done, let your kids know that it’s time to clear the table. When it’s laundry day, announce that it’s time to gather up their dirty clothes. Keep up the routine, and you’ll be surprised just how quickly your kids catch on!
Value Effort over Accomplishment
Remember when we mentioned that your instinct is to get your household tasks completed as efficiently as possible? This point goes right along with letting your children help you.
You have to value the effort over the accomplishment. Your child will make their bed in their own haphazard way, or choose an outfit for themselves that doesn’t match, or perhaps stack the plates in a way that seems a tad precarious. However, they did it. And they did it by themselves! That alone is cause for celebration; so dole out the high-fives, smiles and hugs generously. Technique comes with practice, after all!
Until next time,