If you want your child to imbibe positive traits, the key here is to start teaching them very early. Of course, the way that you teach them is a very important factor too. Here are some of the basic guidelines to remember if you want to teach responsibility to your children:
- Be a good role model. Modeling or setting an example is one of the most effective ways to teach anything, especially to children. If you’re really set on teaching your kids the value of responsibility, you should be a picture of it, yourself. Some of concrete ways that you can demonstrate responsibility are the following: always keep your promises to your children; avoid grumbling or complaining whenever you do chores around the house; have a large “family calendar” of duties and obligations (example: rake the front lawn) and then make it a grand celebration whenever you check that obligation as “done.”
- Set opportunities for your children to demonstrate responsibility. You should assign your children manageable tasks appropriate for their age. It could be a smart move to involve your children in the decision-making process as to what particular chores they should be assigned to. This way, they will be more motivated to fulfill their duties and they won’t feel that the responsibility was unfairly handed down to them.
- Praise your kids for their effort towards being responsible. Do this even if the task itself was imperfectly done.
- Take your child to your workplace. Visual demonstrations are great for teaching kids. One time (with permission from your superiors, of course), take your children to your workplace and show them what you do at work. Let them realize that what you do is important, and that’s why you go to work on time always and you fulfill all your responsibilities there.
- Brainstorm with your children what will happen if nobody does what he is supposed to do. For fun, you could sit down with your children and just have a discussion: what will happen if doctors stop making people well? What will happen if the garbage collectors decided to stop working? Not only is this a great bonding activity and a mental stimulation exercise appropriate for children, this will also help children realize that work and doing your responsibility is important and can affect a large number of people.
- Train your kids to list down the activities that they should do. Give your kids a small notebook and calendar and let them write down a daily “to-do” list. Teach them to integrate their homework in school with chores to do around the house and promises made to their friends as well.
- Teach in an atmosphere of support, love and encouragement. Remember, if things are taught in a very restrictive and stressful atmosphere, its learners tend to either follow out of fear and anxiety, or do the complete opposite of the virtue out of rebellion. Understand that there will be times when your children could forget to be responsible; show them that they are still loved, but it’s actually better for them if they become more responsible next time. Appreciate all efforts, and always teach in love and kindness.
Teaching responsibility can be a huge task especially considering that you yourself should imbibe this virtue (even more so because you want to be a prime example to your children), but its rewards are endless. If you raise your children to be responsible people, their future families, co-workers and friends will be supremely grateful for it. Good luck!