All parents want to raise responsible children. They want to be able to trust their kids when they go out for the day, and they want to make sure they have all the tools they need to succeed in life. However, responsibility is not something that comes naturally, at least not to everybody. Instead, responsibility is something that kids need to learn. If you’re a new parent or at least one with young kids, you might not be sure where to begin. But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to teach your kids the responsibility they need.
Start When They’re Young
There’s no better way to teach kids how to be more responsible than to start when they’re young.
Too often, parents will chalk off lousy behaviour, laziness or irresponsibility and claim it is merely because their kids are too young to understand. This isn’t always the case, though, and the habits they get into when they’re young can be hard to break as they get older.
It’s essential to promote a responsible environment for your children, whether at home, play, or school because otherwise, they won’t learn until they too break these bad habits.
All parents should set limits on specific activities for their children. It’s the only way to help them grow up without indulging too often in excess.
You can set limits to everything, too. There are limits to how much junk food or how many hours playing games they’re permitted each week. By all means, allow them to do this to unwind, but also remind them of other responsibilities they have, such as chores or homework.
With these limits, they can learn to manage their time more efficiently, and they will feel rewarded when they are finished for the day.
You can’t manage your children for their entire lives, so there will come the point where you need to trust them.
Many parents will try to avoid trusting their kids, though. They feel that their children will look for any excuse to take a mile after only giving them an inch. However providing this trust is beneficial for your kids, especially teenagers. As they grow older, they want to be treated with respect as you would an adult.
By trusting them when they go out with friends, you are proving that you have faith in them to make the right decisions, and usually, they will.
Buy Them a Pet
If there is one way to teach a child responsibility from a young age that has been proven to work, it’s buying them a pet.
A family pet will teach them how to care for an animal, but as you will be the one to take them for walks, feed them, and attend vet appointments, your kids might not get the full picture. Buying them a pet for themselves and letting them browse sites like Time for Paws and find food, toys, and supplies that would be suitable for their pet will help them get an idea of what is best for their new friend.
Through this, they will learn about caring for something other than themselves and even putting others’ needs before theirs.
Get Them to Contribute
Whether it’s chores like the vacuuming or washing the dishes (or just loading the dishwasher) or even helping out with buying food and paying bills once they’re able to, encouraging your children to contribute to the household is an excellent way to teach them how to be responsible.
By doing this, they will understand what it’s like to be part of a household. At some point, they will move out (you hope so, anyway), and you need to prepare them for managing time, keeping the house tidy, and budgeting their money so they can continue to pay rent and utilities without the risk of being cut off.
Be An Example
As their parent, your kids will model your behaviour. They will see what you do and how you do it, and they will use this as inspiration for when they grow up.
While no parent is perfect, it means it’s your responsibility to teach your children responsibility through your actions. If you behave in the wrong way, they will see the as normal behaviour, and it risks them carrying irresponsible models throughout their life.
Breaking promises might not seem like a big deal to you, especially if you think your kids are too young to remember it, but they might remember it, and this will impact them negatively.
Praise Their Efforts
It’s always beneficial to praise kids for their efforts. Whether they do well in school or sport, you should remind them about what a fantastic job they’ve done.
The same goes for showing responsibility. Often, kids don’t realise they’re being responsible, but if they wash their hands before dinner or refuse to do something dangerous (or antisocial) with their friends, you should point out how proud you are of them.
This provides the positive reinforcement they need and will encourage them to repeat the same actions when they encounter the situation again.
Show Them The Benefits of Responsibility
It’s not enough to merely tell them that responsibility is good for them. You need to show them why it is beneficial.
There are many ways to do this. You can encourage them to save up their pocket money rather than spend it on sweets. When they’ve saved up enough, they can buy something more expensive, and this will show them why responsible spending and budgeting is useful.
The same goes for household chores. The more you do as soon as you need to, the less you can do later. It’s much better to play games in a clean home rather than play games while worrying that you still need to clean up afterwards.
Don’t Expect More From Their Age
One mistake that many parents make when teaching their kids to be responsible is that they expect too much. Younger kids cannot do the same things as older kids, so you need to consider their ages when expecting them to be responsible.
By approaching responsibility in an age-appropriate manner, you will find it easier to teach them to be responsible. As they grow up, you can increase responsibilities instead of throwing them in at the deep end straight away.
This will ease them into better responsibility and also make them confident when they’re ready for more.
Let Them Make Mistakes
No one is perfect, and everybody makes mistakes in life. You can’t expect your children to go through life without tripping up, and while you shouldn’t let them run riot around town, you should also allow them to make mistakes.
Often, making mistakes is the only way kids will learn. They might put off their homework because they don’t want to do it, but this could mean a failing grade. Likewise, they might stay up too late and miss a big event because they overslept. Hopefully, they will learn from these mistakes and be more responsible in the future.
There’s only so much you can say to them that they will listen to, sometimes, you need to let them learn first hand.
Setting Them Up For Success
Kids will act irresponsibly; it’s something that is in their nature. But while this is okay at first, there will come the point where they need to begin taking responsibility for their actions, thoughts, and their lives. For some kids, this might come early, but others may need more guidance to help them understand the value of responsibility. With these tips, you can set them up for all the success they need in life, without needing to run back to you when disaster strikes.