Responsibility in itself is quite a tough life skill to teach, whether it is to a kid or even an adult. You might come across a number of men and women who have yet to take full responsibility for their lives as well as their dependents. Unlike other aspects of an individual’s personality, responsibility is like exercising a muscle. The earlier you begin working on it, the easier it becomes to naturally rely on the same, which is why it is necessary for you as a parent to start cultivating the foundation of that attitude in your child from an early age.
What To Expect From Your Child At This Age?
The responsibility of a child at home and in various aspects of his life differ from age to age. Not all kids can pick up tasks off the bat and some take a really long time in coming to terms with this concept.
For kids who are in grade school, they can be well aware of taking care of small chores around the house, such as keeping things in their right place or taking out the trash. This can translate to a social behaviour outside as well where they ensure to throw rubbish only in the dustbins and not on the road. Even at this age, kids do require reminders from time to time to stick to the promises they made. So it is best not to be too harsh about it if they stumble during this course.
How To Make Your Child Responsible?
There are a number of activities to teach responsibility to kids which you can use in order to shift your child towards the realm of handling tasks and being aware of what’s riding on his shoulders.
1. Change Of Tactic
Most parents rely heavily on telling their children to do exactly what they want them to do. Kids listen to that but fail to develop it as a habit. For example, your child returns home from school and throws his bag on the couch, and he keeps it in the right place only after you tell him. This goes on continuously without him developing the habit to keep it by himself. A change can be made by making him repeat the entire procedure of taking the bag outside and entering back in and keeping it appropriately. A connection can help him develop a habit.
2. Understanding Prioritization
One life skill that takes children a long time to understand is to realize which task is more important than the other. Prioritization is the need of the hour in today’s life, with a number of tasks and responsibilities making themselves aware to us. Teach him why completing an important task first is necessary and frees up the time to do other things. Be polite and firm in making sure it is executed correctly, such as getting him to clean his room before he heads out to play with his friends.
3. Being Independent
Some parents have a very high tendency of hand-holding and constantly telling their kids the right way of doing things. This robs them of the learning process where they will make mistakes or do things the wrong way and then figure it out how to do it right. Monitor your child but don’t interfere in his process. Let him do it in his own way even if that might not be the most efficient. Over time, he will figure it out the right way or come to you for help when he feels like it or even finds out a completely different way of getting it done.
4. Reward Responsible Behaviour
Kids do require a longer time to realise that being responsible is a necessary trait of life. Until then, they usually view it as one of their duties towards developing good behaviour. Nevertheless, don’t forget to acknowledge their efforts and set in a reward system of sorts. This could be on a weekly basis where you keep track of the times your child took care of his own chores or helped around the house responsibly and give him points on that basis. He can use those points for a treat over the weekend or opt for choosing a location for a picnic.
5. Words Of Encouragement
As much as tangible rewards can get your kid excited, nothing beats words of encouragement and acknowledgement that come from parents. Rewards are usually temporary and lose their allure once they are consumed. But as parents, whatever we say to our kids stays with them for a lifetime and shapes their behaviour subconsciously. Let your child know that you are aware of his efforts and that you are proud of him.
6. Get Your Kid Involved
The responsibility of your child should not be purely restricted to his own chores or tasks. Let him feel like a part of the house and that his efforts do count towards keeping it going well. Even if it is a complex activity, ask your kid to help you out with tiny things like getting some tools, or helping you hold the chair or the stool, and so on. In certain aspects, feel free to ask your child’s opinion if a colour suits better than the other, or what fruits should we buy from the grocery today.
7. Age-Wise Assignment
You can’t expect a 3-year-old to help you out with cleaning your vehicle or assist in grocery shopping. But you can definitely ask him to gather his toys together and put them in the box after he is done playing. Give your child tasks and responsibilities based on how old he is and how responsible he already is. Some kids are quite excited to handle numerous chores and will ask you for more. Start giving them complex ones gradually as well.
8. Approve And Support Honest Behaviour
With responsibility comes the risk of inability to fulfil it and the consequences of failing to do so completely. This is all a part and parcel of life and your kids should not develop a fear of carrying out an activity, lest they fail to do it the right way. Maintain an open and honest channel of communication that allows your child to ask you for your help or tell you honestly that he was unable to do the task assigned to him. Don’t reprimand him for it, instead tell him you are proud he is brave and honest enough to tell you about it.
9. Lead By Example
There is a reason why the idioms “like father, like son” or “like mother, like daughter” exist in our language. Our children are a reflection of who we are and how we have brought them up. Kids learn the most of what needs to be done in life by listening to their parents as well as by seeing how parents behave in real life. So, to make sure your children are responsible adults in the future, it is necessary for you to be a responsible adult in the present as well.
10. Clarify The Connections
At a young age, the concept of causality and every action having a consequence can be quite confusing for kids to understand. They might interpret things as taking place on their own. It is important for parents to establish these links, for both good as well as bad results. Let them understand that your home garden is flourishing because the kid made sure to water the plants every day and remove the weeds. Let them also know that they fared poorly on the test because they spent the entire week playing video games instead of studying.
Apart from various techniques and games to teach responsibility to kids, one of the key aspects to instil this attitude and make it stick for a lifetime is to help kids develop a strong conscience over time. When this finally starts emerging from within, the child will undergo a change as a person and be responsible will be as natural as breathing air.
Also Read: How to Motivate Children