Raising Responsible Children
Raising children who are responsible for their own behaviour and belongings, while caring for others' means that from a young age they are respected enough to learn these vital skills, while still allowing for emotional vulnerabilities and time to be kids.
Here are some ideas to help raise kids with great manners and who take responsibility for themselves:
Talk with other parents:
If you have friends with children the same age as yours, have a chat to see what responsibilities they are giving their children. Chances are, there will be a wide range of opinions and experiences but it's always good to see where your expectations sit on the spectrum.
Take one thing at a time:
Trying to give too much responsibility can be overwhelming and exhausting for a child. Spend time to master each skill before adding on a new one.
Expect good behaviour:
Children will live up or down to whatever your expectations are. Don't be afraid of having high, age-friendly expectations.
Find their passions:
Having a child who loves cooking, or another who loves to sort through the washing is a fabulous gift, so use it!
Decide which behaviours will be rewarded with praise from you and which will earn rewards such as pocket money, special time with you, or saving towards something they would love to have.
With extra responsibility comes extra privileges, and children will quickly learn that if they have taken responsibility for their rooms, then they will be rewarded with greater household freedom.
Talk about manners:
Manners is not a bad word, but some children may find it difficult to pick up on social cues. Don't wait until your child is out in public before telling them off for not saying hello to an adult who has approached them. Talk about looking someone in the eye and saying hello when meeting them for the first time. Think about all the different ways to be polite - saying please and thank you, standing back and letting others' go first, not getting more food until everyone has finished their first serving, and so on. Teach these skills in the home.
Model the behaviours you want to instill:
Yes, it's true. By showing kids responsible behaviour, they are more likely to know what to do and how to behave.
There's no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, and you know your child best, so make sure you think about manners and responsibilites before bad habits form.
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