I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how we teach our kids responsibility. I’ve found that opportunities to teach are available on a near constant basis. I find that sometimes the most memorable and meaningful times come from when we make mistakes. I would prefer my kids make mistakes while they’re young, and learn the lessons early, than have to suffer from big mistakes when they’re older.
Here are 5 ways to teach kids responsibility.
- Begin when they’re young – Habits are built up over time, and it’s the little things we do each day that build a strong foundation for a solid future. When they’re young we wanted them to be responsible for their behavior. So they were taught to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ They wouldn’t get what they requested until they did those things. I love that they learned to ask for things saying ‘May I’ as well. We don’t come into the world, well-mannered, and polite, these things must be taught. Simple tasks and chores at home, help to hone ownership, and fosters team work. As they develop and become more adept at taking on responsibility, we trust them, and allow them to have more opportunities.
- Work together – I’m sure we’ve all had times where we’ve been asked to do something that the person asking us, never does. There’s so much hypocrisy and resentment when something like that happens. Kids are very intelligent, they know when someone is trying to bamboozle them. So, if I ask my kids to clean their rooms, or help me clean the house, that means that I can’t sit on my bum, and watch them to it. When they see that I’m rolling up my sleeves to get to it, they trust me. It proves to them that I mean what I say, and I show them by my actions. Working together as a family, brings unity, and makes onerous chores more enjoyable.
- Show them by example – This follows the work together tip above, but it’s one of the most important skills in parenting. How we live, how we joke, how we dress, how we talk about people, all affects our kids. If we want our kids to be generous, kind, patient, upstanding citizens, we have to model that. Raising kids with character doesn’t just magically happen, it requires us to change, to be better. Trust me, my kids have made me a better person, bit by bit as I try to live up to what I hope they will become. I’ve still got a long, long way to go. I like that they see that I’m human, I make mistakes, and that I don’t have all the answers; but that I’m willing to apologize, I’m willing to search for answers, and that I’m still eager to learn. It’s not easy, it’s tough work, because I’m a stubborn woman, but man, it’s worth it.
- Positive feedback vs. rewards – One of my daughters has brought up how other friends have allowances for chores. I always explain to her that we are a family, and if we’re a family, we work together, and we don’t need to be paid for being a responsible participant in our family. I also want my kids to do good things and to be responsible because they want to. Not because they will get paid to. I’m big on finding ways for them to internalize the desire to be a hard worker, and a good person, because that’s what they want to do, or be. I find that internal desires are more effective in the long-term than any external expectations and pressures.
- Teach consequences good and bad – We’re big on making sure that when our daughters do something responsible, or unexpectedly helpful, or display good character that we show our gratitude, and our joy. We like them to see how when they behave well, they create goodness around them. Likewise when they’ve made mistakes, we explain and talk to them about how their actions were inconsiderate, or not ok. We never berate them, we teach them through empathy, and they always understand. Learning the consequences of our actions at a young age, helps teach kids to think ahead and to be aware of others, and how they may feel.
What does any of this have to do with a toy subscription company like Pley? When you’re choosing to rent toys there’s the joy of getting something new each time. At the same time, when you return a toy, there’s a level of patience that comes into play as you await the next arrival. In addition, while playing with a rented toy the kids also learn that they have to be conscientious and responsible for that toy, as there are other kids who will play with that same toy. It helps when kids learn to think outside of themselves, and for others. I like that kids can select toys by adding and organizing their queue of toys, it helps them prioritize and be held responsible for the choices they make. It may be a good lesson for kids who are accustomed to buying toys often, to realize the economic sense and choices that go into budgeting, determining value, and managing money responsibly in a family.
With every new Pley subscription, the company donates a toy to a child in need. So not only does your toy subscription help save our landfills, by creating less waste, it also benefits those kids who are in need. This is already sparking meaningful conversations with my girls, as the situation becomes real, because they are now a part of the narrative in doing good.
Like I said, I don’t think I’m ever at a loss when finding opportunities and situations to teach my kids about responsibility. It might take a little more effort to think about how to manage a conversation, but the more it’s done, the easier it becomes. I find that my kids love conversations we have from daily experiences that offer life lessons. They crave it, and our relationship becomes stronger and more united each time we take the time to talk. It’s my responsibility to teach my kids, and I’m grateful that I have that opportunity.
How do you teach your kids responsibility? How do you find those moments? Let us know in the comments.
Have you tried Pley? Will you? If you do, or have, please let me know how you like the service.
ps. This is a sponsored post, and Pley provided me three months to try out their service. All opinions, gratitude and excitement are my own. Images from provided by Pley.