Teaching your children life skills like responsibility and dependability is a big part of your job as a parent. But unlike teaching your children a skill like tying their shoes, there’s no one tried-and-true, step by step method for teaching children how to behave responsibly. Fortunately, child development experts have a few ideas.
Chores, Responsibility, and Bonding
Karen Ruskin, author of “The 9 Key Techniques for Raising Respectful Children Who Make Responsible Choices,” says involving your children in household chores from an early age is a great way to teach responsibility. Some suggestions include:
- Give your child a chore that matches their skill and attention level. For your toddlers, teaching them to take care of a toy after they’re done playing is a good, age-appropriate chore (and it helps keep you from stepping on a random truck or doll!).
- Older children can be assigned more complex chores, such as taking care of the dishes after a meal, or helping with yard work.
- Whatever chore you give your child, make sure to explain why it’s important. A simple phrase like “we always put our dirty clothes in the hamper when we’re done with them because it’s where dirty clothes belong” can reinforce the idea and help your children remember on their own.
In addition to teaching skills like responsibility, an extra benefit to doing chores with your children is that it creates another opportunity to bond with your children. Even something as simple as teaching your child how to properly knot a trash bag is an opportunity to laugh with and learn about your child. Taking the time to involve your children in your chores not only teaches your children responsibility for the future, but gives you the chance to turn busywork into quality time.
Regardless of your child’s age, make chores a bonding experience with your child! Invite your child to help you with bigger tasks and make chores fun by listening to music or telling stories together.
Do you have suggestions for ways to make chores more fun for your children? Let us know by tweeting us @PCAAmerica or by leaving a comment on our Facebook page! Check out our other tips at the Parenting Tips of the Week archives.