The idea that a child is responsible for things is not something that comes naturally. It has to be taught, taught by example, and learned.
In some ways, it shouldn't be a surprise: kids don't have any responsibilities when they're born, and they do everything by instinct. They cry when they're hungry or need something, and they go to the bathroom when they have to go. There's no one to blame; it's all based on instinct and causality.
So, being responsible isn't something you're born with. Also, it's not a lot of fun. For a child, most responsibilities take a lot of time and are boring. So, kids naturally want to do things that are exciting and try to avoid things like:
Make your room clean
Get ready for bed
Put away your toys
Get your work done
Know that it takes a lot of self-control and maturity for a child to keep doing something that isn't fun. It takes some work. And you have to teach your child how to be responsible and make sure they do what they are supposed to do.
Here are some tips that will help you educate children on how to be responsible and lead them to become independent adults who can do things for themselves.
You Need To Enforce Accountability
It's common knowledge for parents to instruct their children to do such things as wash their hands, put on their clothes, get ready for school, and tidy their rooms. How parents react when their children don't wash, go to school, or clean up after themselves is more important than what they say. As a result, and this is where the issue lies, parents fail to educate their children to take full responsibility for their actions.
When children don't do what's expected of them, they have to take responsibility for their actions. It is only via the use of punishment that a parent can hold a child responsible. Children are more likely to fulfill their commitments in the future when they know they will be held responsible.
When some parents don't hold their children responsible or don't keep their promises, this only reinforces their children's indifference. It's another lesson in lying, evading accountability, and making up reasons not to take responsibility for one's conduct. They also learn that things do not have to be earned and that society, as portrayed by their parents, will not hold them accountable. It's a bad lesson to learn. So it's critical to educate children to be responsible, and if they aren't, they must be held accountable.
Start Teaching Accountability Early
As soon as possible in a child's life, you should get them to take responsibility for the things they do. For example, before your child goes to bed, have them pick up their toys. Now, if they can't pay attention because they're only little, get down on the carpet with them and pick them up. Don't do it for them, though. Even if you say, "I'll do one, then you do one," they start taking care of their obligations.
Another great idea is to teach your child early on how to use an alarm clock. Setting the alarm at night and getting up to turn it off helps them learn to be responsible. You are showing them from a young age that they are their own people and have responsibilities.
Set Age-Appropriate Tasks
Try to come up with an activity that you are certain your youngster will be able to do without too much trouble. Let them know in advance precisely what you want them to accomplish so that you know they can do it. In other words, you're not expecting too much, which will lead to frustration for you and them.
Your child might be nervous when you tell them to clean up their room. It's not clear what needs to be done because it's a vague instruction that really means a lot of things; it could be things like putting clothes away, making the bed, and tidying toys. Something more precise, like, "Please put your game back in its box," is easier to handle. Giving your child tasks that take some work but are doable for their age will help them feel more independent.
You can't expect them to start being helpful right away. It helps children gradually take on more responsibility in ways that are right for their ages. Ask two-year-olds to arrange the table and three-year-olds to place the napkins. Four-year-olds can put their socks on, and five-year-olds can assist you with the care of your chocolate lab puppies. Six-year-olds are capable of clearing the table, seven-year-olds are capable of watering the plants, and eight-year-olds are capable of folding their clothes. Be mindful of the fact that you are empowering your child, not making them feel guilty and burdening them with more work.
Show And Tell
When assigning a task to your child, describe it in simple words and always show them what to do. For example, if you're asking them to set the table, start by setting one place yourself so they can understand how it should be done. This will satisfy them and give them the courage to do it themselves.
If you have to spend more than a few minutes teaching your child how to do something, it is probably too difficult for them at this age. Instead, assign them a little portion of the chore, such as setting out the spoons.
Work Then Play
Even if your child's attention span is still short, you can begin to educate them to complete duties before resting or having fun. When you say you'll take them to the park, but the toys must be put away first, they'll get the message. Be pleasant and straightforward about it, and acknowledge that you, too, would rather have fun but that responsibilities are important. Show them that you're not acting dictatorial; you're just asking them to act appropriately, just as you do.
The "when-then" rule is a wonderful method to explain this to your youngster. "When we've made the bed, then we can play with the paints," for example.
It's crucial to use the word "when" instead of "if." Because "if" implies that you only need to make the bed "if" you wish to use the paints. However, "when" shows that the bed must be made at some time, regardless of the circumstances, and the paints are only a bonus.
Your child won't always make their bed or put their toys back in their box. Try not to get upset if your little one seems out of sorts. Just tell them in a calm voice, "Remember to put your toys away when you're done playing with them," and that should do it.
Give them a little extra help if they're tired, like after a day at nursery school. They've probably been following rules all day, and now that they're home, they want to take a break. As long as the learning is ongoing, that’s what counts. We can’t all do things perfectly one hundred percent of the time.
Provide Routines And Structure
Routines are essential in a child's life for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it gives them a lot of chances to learn how to handle themselves while doing a bunch of not very fun things. First, they learn how to go to bed, pick up their toys, and get ready in the morning. Then they learn how to study well and take care of themselves. Lastly, they learn how to do simple things like do laundry or make simple meals by doing them over and over again.
The more routine a child has, the more responsible they will learn to be.