5 ways to instil responsibility in your pre-schooler the Reggio Emilia way
Parents want to raise children who are independent, confident and responsible. While managing children and teaching them is an essential element of parenting, teaching them responsibility is important for their own benefit. Being responsibility will boost their self-esteem and give their lives added meaning.
The key lies in helping children understand that responsibility is something joyful, rather than a burden. If a child wants to grow up to be self-sufficient, she will view responsibility as a means to attain the end. They will feel that they matter to the world by positively contributing to the environment and the society around them.
#1. Make chores a habit, not a once in a while thing
Let’s accept it, nobody likes to do chores be it children or adult. But the have to do it. Don’t ‘make’ your child do chores, but incorporate it into the family routine. Once your child sees everyone doing something around the house, she will not feel that she is being burdened with chores. Make the job fun. Give it a structure and as much support as possible. Remind your child the joy of seeing a clean home or a beautiful garden. And yes, lend a helping hand too! Slowly your child will start doing the tasks by herself.
#2. Give your child age-appropriate responsibilities
While we do recommend making chores a regular thing, it is essential to choose age-appropriate responsibilities. Let your child enjoy the years of growing up and not be burdened with things beyond his age. Start with simple chores such as wiping the table, putting away their toys after playing, keeping used clothes aside for laundry etc. Slowly, as your child grows, you can move onto bigger responsibilities such as doing the laundry or washing the dishes.
#3. Teach your child to be responsible for his interaction with others
Teaching children to take into account other people’s feelings is an important responsibility of a parent. When your child hurts someone’s feelings – be it a sibling or a friend, don’t force him to apologise. Instead, listen to his feelings and why he behaved the way he did. Then explain to him how his behaviour has hurt the other person. Once your child understands the repercussions of his behaviour, he will be ready to apologise himself and chances are that he will avoid repeating the same mistake again.
#4. Don’t rush to help your child
As parents, we often step in way too early. Give your child some space and let her understand what’s going wrong. You can always bail her out when things get worse. But first, let her try to find a solution to be herself and understand her feelings. If she solves the problem herself, she will remember it a lifetime.
#5. Create a no-blame home
It is human nature to blame someone else when things go wrong and not take responsibility. Such defensive action can become a habit and harm a child lifelong. Children who are more keen to defend themselves rather than take responsibility for their own actions tend to lie to parents to defend themselves and are more likely to repeat a mistake.
Instead of blaming the person who did something wrong at home – be it a child or an adult, making it a positive thing by discussing what went wrong, how it affected people and what could have been done differently. You will see a world of difference in the attitude of your child and even the adults if blame is removed. We all do mistakes, don’t we? Your child needs to know that it’s okay to make mistakes, but it’s essential not to repeat the same one.
Children who take responsibility from a young age, grow up to be an adult who is motivated to do something on their own and stand out in a crowd. As a parent, that is the greatest gift you can give your child.