Teaching your kids to be responsible can be a daunting task, especially if your children are as stubborn and thick-headed as their father. Okay, maybe it’s you who passed along the headstrong trait! Either way, it is important to instill responsibility in your kids early on.
It’s easy as parents to see a cute, pouting face and want to cave. Remember that your toddler is probably going to catch on to the behavior that you give in to. Don’t let them win you over, no matter how adorable they are when they tell you no. There is a huge difference between allowing them to voice their opinion and them being plain disrespectful. If you tell them to do something, mean it. There are hidden lessons in everything we ask of our children and if they aren’t getting the message at home you can guarantee they aren’t getting it at all.
Lead By Example
More than hearing, kids watch. Be the person you want them to be and they will follow suit. If you want them to take care of their things then make sure you take care of your own. Telling a child to clean up their room while you have mounds of laundry piled up will tell them having a mess of dirty clothes stuffed under their bed is okay.
Buy Them a Pet
Kids always seem to be asking for a pet of some sort. Maybe it’s not the best thing for you as it’s hard enough to find time to juggle all you have, but adding another life to their “to do” list is a great way to teach them responsibility. It can be their job to take the dog for a walk, feed the fish or clean the litter box. As an extra bonus you can teach them about being responsible with money, for example you can have them find coupons in order to buy the necessities it takes to care for a pet.
Praise their Responsibility
We all need words of affirmation from time to time. By praising a job well done you are letting them know you appreciate that they took their job seriously. Be specific when telling them what you liked. Try not to praise the things they had to be reminded to do. Instead use these compliments when they do something without being asked. For example if taking out the trash is on your child’s chore list, acknowledge them when they do it on their own.
Reward Their Behavior
It is the responsible thing for us to get up every morning and go to work. We may not want to go, but there is always a reward at the end. This should be similar to how you handle your children. This doesn’t always mean allowance or even extravagant gifts. It could be time playing video games or doing other activities that are considered recreational.
If you opt to reward with tangible items, it is a good idea to teach them the responsibility that comes along with managing money. This should always be something we teach our children, but especially if you are using material things to reward behavior. You can have them look for coupons to save on your next big purchase or tell them they have to wait for that good sale before they can have the latest gadget.
Either way, you are letting them know that paying full price is overrated and that saving money is important.
Being a parent comes with its own sense of responsibility. We are our children’s first teachers and the ones they look to as role models. If we are frivolous and afraid to commit you can guarantee that they will notice. Start when they are young and increase obligations as they get older.
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