Five Simple Activities That Can Teach Your Child To Be Responsible
A growing concern for today’s parents is that of the “entitled kid”: that little (or not so little) boy or girl who expects parents or someone older to be on call and ready to bail him or her out of a tough situation. One way to nip this behaviour in the bud is to teach kids about the importance of owning up to one’s actions and looking out for one another. How to go about it? Here are 5 simple activities to help begin teaching your little ones about a big word called responsibility:
Show Them How to Pick Up Their Toys Before Bedtime
This activity can begin as soon as a child is old enough to start imitating parents and other adults. As part of the nightly bedtime routine, show the child how to put away his or her toys. In time include the child in this activity, by letting him or her sort out and put the toys in shelves and boxes that are easy and safe to reach.
Give Them A Daily Chore
Allowing kids to take charge of simple chores in the house is a great way to teach them the importance of cooperation in maintaining a clean and harmonious living space. It is also part of preparing them for eventual independence. Chores must be appropriate to the kid’s age: young kids can start out with sorting spoons and forks and then setting the table. Older children can wash the dishes, or help sweep and mop the floors, or dust countertops and tables.
Have Them Fill Up a To-Do Calendar
Although parents often take charge of escorting kids to and from their extracurricular and social activities, it should not be parents’ job to remember a kid’s schedule. Teach kids to honor their appointments by having them fill out a calendar of activities that can hang in a family space such as the dining room, the living room or even the kitchen. This way, kids can learn to keep track of their schedules, and the whole family is kept up to speed on their whereabouts!
Care for a Plant
Kids are begging for a furry friend? Don’t give in just yet; start in first with having them care for a small potted plant. Children can take part in simple tasks such as watering the plant or checking daily for pests; more dangerous tasks such as pruning are best left to parents or done under adult supervision. Caring for a plant is a less fussy way to teach kids the importance of looking out for another life and instilling a respect for nature. Parents can take this a step further by helping a kid plant a tree, then guiding him or her in caring for the sapling through the years.
Keep Track of Their Allowance
School-age kids already receiving a daily allowance can readily learn responsibility as well as basic financial literacy by learning to keep track of their expenses. Kids can start by keeping a small notebook listing down how much for their allowance they spend each day in the school canteen, the bookstore or elsewhere. This simple exercise in mathematics can be expanded over time to have kids list down their daily savings, and what they wish to acquire with these; it can be a small toy or book, or a trip to share ice cream or burgers with siblings and friends. Better yet, kids can learn the value of paying forward, and track of how much of their savings they can donate to a chosen charity each month!
These activities are only a few among the many ways that kids can learn responsibility at a young age. What these and other strategies have in common is that they rely on parents to take the lead in showing how responsibility looks. Since children are great at imitating parents and caregivers, it is up to the adults in the family to model responsible behaviour at home. By setting a daily example, kids can soon learn to be responsible in their own little ways. And that’s goodbye now to the “entitled child!”