Everyone loves being around responsible adults, but sometimes it is hard to imagine that your crazy little toddler or your moody teenager will ever grow into that type of adult. How can you possibly teach your children responsibility from a young age when it only seems to make more work for you? Here are five tips for molding that kind of behavior and for helping your little ones understand that they have a vital part in society.
Choose Age-Appropriate Daily Chores
Instead of waiting until your child is a teenager to begin doling out tasks around the home, start with short, easy tasks even when your child is still a toddler. For example, very young children can begin with pulling up the covers on a bed or sorting socks. As they get older, they can take on more responsibilities in the same areas and gradually add to the number of chores they do each day.
Consider a Reward Chart
Younger children often respond especially well to rewards charts. Every time they do a requested task, they can earn points, and they can lose points if they do not complete the task. Children can work to earn points towards a desired purchase.
Have Them Help You with Seasonal Tasks
As children get older, they should learn all that goes into being an adult, including those regular maintenance tasks and seasonal chores that come with owning or renting a house. They should learn how to spring clean the inside of the home, take care of the yard and clean the gutters. Obviously, don’t let your children try to fix anything you yourself can’t fix, such as electrical or plumbing issues. These should be looked at by a professional.
Volunteering as a family is one way to teach your children how to be responsible to the world around them. Find a local soup kitchen, humane society or community group that helps seniors or disabled individuals, and work together as a family every month. As your children get older, they may show a preference for one or two types of activities. Encourage them in these activities especially.
Teach Responsible Relationships
Children must also learn how to be responsible in their relationships. Teach them that the words that come out of their mouths and their actions to others can make the world a better or a worse place in which to live. Children should quickly learn how to treat people who are weaker or smaller than they are, should be taught how to apologize and forgive and should learn to make things right with others.
While it is not always easy to take the time necessary to teach your children responsibility, it is always worth it in the end. Sometimes it may take a little extra work on your part as you train your children how to do new tasks. However, as they become more responsible for tasks in your home, you will find that your life gradually becomes easier, and you will find yourself in a peaceful, mature household.