Most parents and guardians are hopeful that the children they raise will grow up to be kind and intelligent adults who can take on the many twists that life throws their way.
They want them to be happy, safe, calm…and, a word that comes up recurrently, responsible.
Responsible for their actions, for their peers, for themselves, for their work…the list of what it means and where it’s important to be “responsible” goes on and on.
However, in order to mature into a self-sufficient and responsible adult, it’s important to start laying the foundation down at an early age.
Teaching children about responsibility is just as important as teaching them hard skills like math and science, as well as other elements that contribute to their development like critical thinking, kindness, heritage, and beyond.
If you’re feeling a little stuck on some at-home ways to teach your child about responsibility, here are some of our favorite ones:
- Provide a structure
The importance of establishing a routine for children has been widely recognized: it helps them release the stress of not knowing what comes next, become more organized, and understand the concept of responsibility from a first-person perspective.
By creating a routine that your child can follow, they’ll begin to thrive on their own and understand that certain things must be done before the next one can happen. For example, your child needs to finish dinner before brushing their teeth, and brush their teeth before settling down and watching some TV.
This is especially important when children are young: although they might not see their routine as something that they’re solely responsible for, it’ll help them create healthy habits that will be useful as they begin to grow up.
- Model responsibility
Practice responsibility and get your child involved in the process. For example, carry your trash with you around the park during an outing and let them know: “We need to carry this trash because there are no bins. When we find a bin, we can throw it out and make sure the park stays clean.”
By providing them with real life examples of how to be responsible in different settings, your child will start to form habits modeled after what you’re showing them and teaching them as “right”.
- Hold them accountable for their actions
Accountability is a great way to help children understand the importance of being responsible. By holding your child accountable for their actions, they’ll quickly learn that everything they do or don’t do has a consequence; and that, if they don’t want to deal with the consequences, they need to act responsibly in order to avoid them.
An example of this could be that it’s your child’s responsibility to pack their school bag every morning. One day, however, your child forgets to pack their bag properly and doesn’t bring their favorite toy to school to play with at recess. Fight the urge to pack it for them and let them understand, mostly on their own, that packing their toy was their responsibility and that not doing it properly means they can’t play this time.
Through this lesson, your child will become more aware of how important this task can be and they’ll make sure to do it correctly next time.
How has your child learned about responsibility at home? Share some of your tips with other parents in the comments! 🖍