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Teaching a child responsibility and when is the right timing
When to start!
Teaching a child responsibilities is a whole life process; since your child's brain is like a clear canvas, you can start the process very early age. "Lead by example" is anybody's guess but, it takes more then that and it's the details that matter.
Your instinct will guide you to take the next step when your child is ready. Yet, don't always expect the child to take the initiative, you are still the adult here, so, be proactive!
If your life have some structure and you already built some good habits you have the best intention and desire to implement those in your household. Leading by example of course, will be the best start line - and kids are good at imitating.
Training, yes, you heard me right. Repetition is always a good example on how they catch up. Although you want them to grow responsible you can have some fun with it for sure!
Action time: get them involved
Show the child what you want them to do, initiate the action and lead so they can catch on and do it alongside with you and slowly you remove yourself from doing it.
Show them around the house, kitchen, in the garden, when meeting friends for coffee, when meeting families with kids, in the grocery when shopping; I would say, rather keep the communication channel open at all times.
If you keep them off certain areas of your life, or household chores, they will think that is nothing to it they should learn. So, it's better of to get them familiar with life in other words.
Show trust in their abilities to do things. Try always to support them with encouraging words and positive talk:
" I know you can,"
"I trust that you will accomplish this,"
"you will love this once you look at what you achieved,"
Give them a thing to do and hold them accountable; accountability naturally leads itself to responsibility.
They don't have to do things just because, it's a process of building skills and developing self esteem while doing the chores.
Teach the child the value of things and they will appreciate that more and be respectful of you and in return they grow up being responsible people.
Kids don't want to be a spectator!
With the level of energy kids have it's not a surprise to learn that kids don't want to act as a spectator!
Get your kids involved in action, let them develop skills as early as possible, while having them do things give them an explanation as of WHY. (making sense, reasoning)
Always remember - their brain is almost empty - getting their memory filled up with the right things really early state is the best strategy. (think of a laptop or any electronic devices memory- it's not much there before you fill it by uploading stuff)
build long lasting relationships
As the child's parent you know best what they love to do or have for their next phase in life! Reward their work always; it doesn't have to be monetary reward, it could be a surprise gift, or a trip, or a new book. It's all depending on the age of the child of course.
Schedule time for a variety of activities, spice up their day! Act more like their best friend, but be firm when necessary and still expect them to give you the appropriate respect! Give them praise and you will receive it back later in life!
The best things you can do to encourage responsibility, as well as other values, is not to expect perfection but appreciate the true effort.
They will be thankful for learning all this from their best mother and father, rather then picking up skills from the street!