Is this what your house looks like: your children come home and don't put their stuff away and do the chores that you have asked them to do? Are you an overwhelmed parent that doesn't know how to encourage your children to be responsible for their stuff and help take care of the household chores?
I have been asked several times from parents about how to teach their children to be responsible for things around the house and in life. At first I wasn't sure how to answer this question. Then I read a quote that said if we expect someone to do something, we must first teach them what being accountable looks like, feels like, sounds like, etc. I thought this was a very good statement.
So how do we teach what accountable is?
First let's discuss a few skills that parents might want their children to do. Parents usually want their children to be responsible with their own stuff, complete certain age appropriate chores, and interact appropriately with others inside and outside of the family.
When teaching your child about chores, make sure that you teach them what the end result should look like. You might also want to have a checklist of tasks that could help them remember how to complete the chore. You should have a checklist for every chore that you expect them to do. Pinterest is a good place to look for these checklists.
If your child cannot read yet, make a picture schedule of tasks they can complete. Then show them each step.
For example if you tell a child to clean up their room, it can be very overwhelming especially if the room is very messy. But if you tell them to put dirty clothes in the hamper, put toys in the toy box, put clean clothes in appropriately places, and organize books on the shelf; then your child will know exactly what to do and won't be so overwhelmed.
Staying on Task
Children are easily distracted when they are given a task to do especially if they don't like the task. An easy suggestion is to provide a timer and challenge them to do as much as they can in a certain amount of time. Then they know when the task going to end and they might feel better about completing it.
Create a Reusable Schedule
You could create a schedule of tasks that you want them to accomplish in the morning or even after school. You will have to teach them each step you expect several times and encourage their progress. Children need to have a caring approach at first in order to stay motivated to complete their tasks.
Don't Nag or Prod
If a child feels or learns that you are going to "nag" them, they won't progress as well as you want them too. You have to trust them to get things done. If you see that they are not making the progress you want, then you can ask them questions about why. Make sure you are not badgering them because this will stop any progress they could have made. Ensure your child that you are there only to help, not to judge. Then they can take responsibility for this on their own.
Children love to interact and impress their parents. You can use this information to help you in motivating your children to do what you want them to do.
Start a sticker chart with each child and every time they complete a task that is up to your expectations, then put a sticker on the chart. When the chart is filled to an agreeable amount, then the child earns a prize of some sort.
These are decided on before you create the chart. These rewards should be mostly free things. You don't want to break the bank while teaching them responsibility.
Interacting Appropriately with Others
If you see your child interacting inappropriately with others, the first you have to do is find out why they are doing. However this may not be an easy task. Children might not want to talk about it to you.
Instead of asking directly, you might have to start slow and talk to them about how things are going and gradually talk to them about why they are acting the way they are. Listen before you respond and respond by restating what they said to you to help you understand what they are talking about.
You should also teach them early about how to treat other people with respect and dignity, so that they will then get treated with respect and dignity.
My name is Stena Schmitt.
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