“Little children, from the moment they are weaned, are making their way toward independence.” – Maria Montessori
Our children are much more capable than we give them credit. Give your children responsibility and the freedom to make mistakes within the boundaries that you’ve set. Raising responsible children is more than just completing a task, it’s also about an attitude. The idea of taking action and being proud of doing it and not always having someone else do it for you. Here are some ideas on things you can do to help raise responsible children.
Start young – You can’t suddenly spring responsibilities on a teenager and expect them to know how to follow through. Start with age appropriate tasks for your child – have your toddler put there dishes in the sink or have your preschooler help load and unload the dishwasher.
Let them help you – Invite your child to help you, even if it takes a little longer to complete the task. By doing it together, with a positive mind frame they feel good about helping you and take ownership of the project.
Model responsibility – Use the term “we”, for example: “Now we put our plate in the sink” as the meal ends. By using the same inclusive “we” over and over to show how easily problems can be solved the task becomes a habit for your child.
Manage your expectations – When you ask your 5 year old to make their bed, it may still be lopsided. Be careful not to criticize and recognize that they did complete the task. When you make your bed show them how to do it correctly.
Give them space – As much as you may be tempted to jump in and start taking over, try to resist! Instead concentrate your efforts on their actual accomplishments. They may not do the job perfectly, but when we criticize or we create doubt in their minds and diminish their desire to be more responsible. Let them complete their task, and then give some small positive suggestions to work on for the next time.