You love pampering your kid! His happiness and security are of prime importance to you, and you do all that’s in your capacity to ensure he gets the best you can provide. That being said, you also want him to grow up to be a well-rounded individual, and to be responsible is one of the key determinants of the same.
On one hand, you see your neighbor’s kid helping them clean up their backyard. On the other, you see your little one dependent on you for the smallest of things like eating his meals. You may shrug away the thought of teaching him to be self-dependent and responsible thinking that he’s too little to understand, but the fact is that the earlier you teach him, the better.
Here are five simple ways you can ingrain the sense of responsibility within your child from very early on:
1. Get them Involved in Household Chores
Just because your kid is little doesn’t mean he can’t lend a hand in some of the simple household chores. Involve your child in activities like shopping for groceries, helping you fetch cooking ingredients, washing dishes, cleaning up his room, etc. from a very young age. Doing this will help inculcate the traits of self-reliance and independence in your child that will go a long way in defining his future behavior. It will also boost his morale to know that you believe him enough to entrust responsibilities onto his shoulder.
2. Follow Routine And Order
You can’t wake up one fine day, expecting your child to clean up his room cheerfully, without you having to tell him. You need to make it a habit and a part of his daily routine. Kids respond extremely well to predefined rules, so ensure that you clearly define a set of daily tasks for your child right since he begins preschool. If his daily timetable requires him to wash his plate after eating lunch before he can head to watch half an hour of TV, he is going to get accustomed to the habit of doing so.
3. Praise When Necessary
There are some things that come naturally to us adults given our evolved sense of judgment and responsibility. However, when your little one displays a hint of these traits, instead of letting them slide without notice, make sure you praise and encourage him for them. If your kid offers to watch over his younger sibling while you’re busy with chores, praise him saying, “I’m proud of you,” or “You’re a great brother and son.” These words of praise, apart from raising his spirit will also help him realize that his efforts are being observed and appreciated. It will thus his reinforce responsible behavior.
4. Don’t Chide – Remind
“Why haven’t you finished your homework yet?”, “Why is the empty snack bowl still lying in your room?” – The more you nag your little one with such statements, the more resistant he will be towards taking up responsibility. Scolding and being bitter might solve the problem at that instant, but it is never a permanent solution.
The best way is to be supportive and encouraging while reminding your child of the things you expect from him. For example, if your child has not finished his homework but is insisting on going to play at the park, say, “I’d love to take you, but you must finish your homework first. We can, then spend more time playing at the park”. Make him believe that you are on his side, not on the opposite team.
5. Lead By Example
Being punctual, eating and sleeping on time, and checking on your family and friends about their well being; your little one is a keen observer of all these things that you do. Teaching him the importance of responsibility is of no use if you end up shying away from it. Your actions provide the best training for your child to understand accountability and conscientiousness. You are your child’s greatest role model, so ensure that your deeds are worthy of providing inspiration.
During your quest of helping your child embrace responsibility, remember that there may be instances of resistance from his end. What is important is that you never give in and continue grooming him in a manner that will help him become a righteous grown individual in future. Good luck!
By Aradhana Pandey
A veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle, Aradhana is also a regular contributor to popular sites like Huffington Post, Natural news, Elephant journal, Thehealthsite, Naturally Savvy, Curejoy and MomJunction.com. She writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.