It’s every parent’s nightmare. To raise a child that turns out to be irresponsible. Running amok without any consideration as to how their actions have consequences is not how we want our children to be.
But is it possible to instil a sense of responsibility into a child at a young age, whilst still nurturing their innocent, child free nature?
The word responsibility merely means to have a duty or to be accountable for. In order to introduce the concept of accountability to our child, we need to communicate to them what it is that’s happening, and explain how we expect things to unfold.
Just like you wouldn’t know what to expect or how to behave in a brand new situation, children need things to be spelled out to them very clearly. The simple skill of communicating with our children is something we very easily forget or are too busy to do.
By pointing out “If you do this, this will happen” and “If you do otherwise then this will make *this* happen” we are informing our children that their actions are to be accounted for. They might not grasp it right away but that’s okay. Giving children time to understand rules and boundaries is vital to their social development.
By being consistent and fair when dishing out discipline we are actually teaching about cause and effect.
But responsibility isn’t all about rules and punishments. We want our children to feel part of the family and to take pride in participating in chores, family events and to have jobs to do.
Toddlers can even take part; tidying up at the end of play time, throwing their toys into a box or even carrying a (very light!) shopping bag from the car into the house.
When you’re preparing a meal you can get all the kids around you with different tasks, peeling and chopping (if they’re old enough) or the simple things such as laying the table or taking the salt and pepper pots into the dining room.
And on an additional note if you’re wary of spending too much time in the kitchen and the kids are getting antsy, why not consider batch cooking or look at how you can save time by meal planning in advance and being a savvy cook. This leaves you with more time to be with your children, which is all they actually all they really want. As important as it is to spend more time with your children, it is equally as important that they get into the habit of eating healthy and different meals so that they don’t become fussy eaters in the future. And once they become a little bit older, you can spend that time teaching them how to responsibly cook in the kitchen. To make the occasion that much more special, why don’t you find them the best cutting board that you can find so they are more likely to invest their time in spending these moments with you. So, you may want to split your time equally between your children and the kitchen so that they get the best of both worlds.
And of course, one of the more obvious ways you can teach responsibility is to have a pet.
Taking care of another being is the highest form of responsibility there is. While the duties can be many; from grooming to walking and feeding; the rewards are great. Just remember to read up on the proper care for the animal beforehand, nobody wants an unruly animal and an excitable child! Dog training 101 would be an option for a wannabe canine lover.
From gardening to grocery shopping, there are ample ways that you can get your children to participate in family life and enjoy a sense of responsibility.
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