1. Start Young
You can’t suddenly spring responsibility on a teenager and expect he will know how to follow through. Imagine your high school daughter calling you at work with the complaint: “Mom I’m hungry. When are you coming home?” You say: Make a sandwich! She replies: “I’ll just wait for you.” Handing out responsibility to kids needs to start early. Think: toddler.
2. Let Them Help You
Don’t grumble and mope when it’s time to do housework. Smile and invite your son to help (even if he makes the job take longer). It’s team work, precious time with your child and a lesson that will one day send him off into the world with the ability to sort lights and darks!
“When your child is invited to participate, he feels valued,” says Dr. Ruskin. “He will take these good feelings and learn to take ownership of his home and feel pride in maintaining it.”
3. Teach Problem-Solving Skills
Children aren’t born knowing how to solve problems. Many kids give up without trying or think there’s only one way to solve a problem. Teach your child that solving a problem can take multiple efforts. Play games that teach your child how to solve problems. Give your child puzzles to solve and play games that encourage creative thinking.
Give your child a task and ask him to come up with at least five ways to solve the problem. For example, ask him how he could move one object from the chair to the table without using his hands. See how many creative solutions he can come up with and discuss the many solutions to the problem.
4. Motivate Your Child with Rewards
Give your child rewards for a job well done. Just like adults receive a pay check for showing up to work and doing their job, kids should earn some sort of reward for doing their jobs as well.
Provide your child with an allowance for completing their chores. Create rules about how much of their money they can spend and how much needs to be saved so you can teach your child to be responsible with money.
5. Establish a Schedule
Create a schedule that will help your child to be productive. Help your child set aside time to do their school work, finish their chores, and complete their daily tasks.
Teach your child to get their work done before playing. When kids understand that they can have free time to play outside or use their electronics once their work is done, they are much more motivated to be productive.
6. Encourage Honesty
At any given time, your kid should be able to come up to you and speak without hesitation or fear. Speak to your kid regularly and make sure you are a good listener. Any time that your kid comes up to you to share something, listen without losing your cool. Even if it is something you may not approve of, do not immediately judge or criticize. This will ease your kid into telling you the truth.
7. Make Your Kid Feel Involved
Whatever you are doing, try and include your kid in the same. If you are going out for a party, select a few options and ask your kid which one is the best. Make sure you give few options. Giving two options to kids who are very young would yield better results. Ask your kid’s opinion where you think it can be used. This will make your kid feel important and grown up. It will also encourage a feeling of responsibility.
8. Change Your Words
You may have been telling your kid to do something over and over again, but without any noticeable impact. For example, when you kid comes home from playing, you ask him to put his bat in the corner. But each time he brings it right in. The most common scenario is when you tell him every time how you repeat this each time but he does not listen. Instead of asking your kid to keep the bat there over and over again, change your words. Ask your kid to go back out, come inside again, and then do it differently. Changing your tactic may help your kid look at it in a different way.
These simple tips can be implemented in your kid’s daily activity routine. Based on your kid’s age, choose steps that will help your kid understand the meaning of responsibility. Do not rush into it. Keep your cool, as this can be quite a change for your kid, especially if your kid has not felt the need to be responsible till now.
If you have followed any special tips on how to teach kids to be responsible that you feel worked well, do share them here.