Teaching your child responsibility is one of the most challenging tasks of parenthood. Like many other traits, it is learned over a long period of time. http://www.upliftfamilies.org/teaching_responsibility
To encourage the development of responsibility, parents can:
- Start early. Children as young as two and three can learn to put clothes and toys away or at least make efforts in that direction.
- Assign regular chores appropriate to the child’s age and development level.
- Use an allowance or other incentive system to encourage completion of tasks.
- Give children a plant or pet to care for. Teach them how to care for it and make them responsible for its wellbeing.
- Help children set up time schedules to encourage them to find time to play and compete homework and household chores.
- Model responsible behavior. Follow through on your obligations and promises, especially to your children. Make those cupcakes for the party, pick up the kids after soccer practice.
- Insist on completion of chores they promised to do in the allotted time, even if it causes you a temporary inconvenience. Resist completing the task for them.
- Allow children to experience the natural consequences of their failure to follow through with their obligations. Let them answer the telephone calls from the people whose newspaper didn’t get delivered.
- Publicly acknowledge the good job your child is doing. The yard looks nice mainly to all of Sally’s efforts.
In the short run, you may feel it is easier to complete chores for your children. However, by teaching responsibility you foster the development of your child’s sense of responsibility and encourage independence and self-reliance.
By Colleen Oshier
Wasatch Mental Health