Every parent wants to have responsible children, who they can trust. As your children grow up and grow more independent from you, if they’re responsible, you can have more peace of mind to know that they can be trusted to work hard, treat others well, and behave in the way that you would want. Here’s how you can raise responsible kids.
Set-Age Appopriate Tasks
Think of some chores that your child can do without too much difficulty, such as unloading the dishwasher, tidying away their own toys, or walking the dog. Give them clear instructions about what you want them to do, so they understand exactly what is expected.
For example, a young child may struggle to know where to start if you just tell them to tidy their room. Instead, break it down into a few steps, such as asking them to put away their toys, make their bed, and then straighten the rug. These steps are more manageable.
Giving your child some age appropriate chores they can achieve will increase their sense of independence.
Show and Tell
When you ask your child to do something, explain it in simple terms. For example, if their job will be setting the table for dinner, start them off by setting one place yourself to show them how to do it.
If you find that you need to spend more than a few minutes to show your child how to do something, then it might be too hard for them. Instead, give them a part of the task, such as putting out the spoons.
Work Then Play
Young children have a short attention span, but you can still start teaching them to get their chores done before they relax and have fun. They will understand when you say things like, “Yes, I want to play with the traxxas udr car in the park too, but let’s clean up after lunch first.”
Be friendly about it, and admit that you prefer the fun stuff to things like chores and homework too. Show that you aren’t being bossy, just expecting them to behave in the same responsible way that you do.
A good way to explain this to your kids is to use the ‘when-then’ rule. For example, when they’ve finished their homework, then they can watch TV.
Use the word ‘when’, not ‘if’. This suggests that they only have to do their homework if they want to watch TV. By using when you make it clear that the homework has to be done regardless, and the TV is a bonus.
Make Chores Fun
We all enjoy tasks more when they are fun and social things to do. Your child likes to spend time with you, and might not see things like helping you to hang out the washing as a chore. It’s fun to be with you and doing something they see as grown-up. If you’re putting away their toys, race to see who can do it first!