[Image: Image of Roy the Responsible Rabbit]
For young children and adults, being responsible means:
Doing what you are supposed to do.
Keeping on trying.
Always doing your best.
Helping your friends and family.
You are the most important teacher your child will ever have. Your children will learn by the example you set for them. If your children see you being responsible, they will want to act responsibly, too.
Infants and responsibility
Help your infant gain the tools she will need to be a responsible preschooler. Once your infant starts on table food, give her the opportunity to feed herself. She will learn the satisfaction of "keeping on trying" by picking up every piece of banana in her bowl. She can also learn to use a spoon at a pretty early age (11-12 months) if you get a plastic baby spoon with a big easy grip.
Quick responses to your child's calls and cries will teach him that he is important and that it is important to help friends and family.
Toddlers and responsibility
Toddlers like being responsible. They enjoy completing small tasks you set up for them. For instance, picking up their toys, finding their shoes, choosing between two stories to read for bedtime. Activities such as these help your child feel confident and capable of completing tasks.
Getting dressed in the morning is another way to help children feel capable. You can start by giving your toddler a choice between two outfits to wear. If your child learns that his opinion is important, then, when he becomes a preschooler, he will want to help others. He will also know he can complete tasks.
Also, in the evening, allowing your child to get undressed by herself (because it's easier than putting the clothes on) will help her learn she can keep on trying to complete tasks.
Preschoolers and responsibility
There are many ways you can help your preschool child learn to be responsible. Preschool children enjoy having jobs at which they can succeed. Helping at home makes children feel important and know they are contributing to the family.
Simple chores children can do at home include:
- setting the table
- clearing their plates after a meal
- taking their clothes to the laundry
- helping fold clothes,
- watering plants or feeding pets
Making a simple chart for your refrigerator may be an easy way to keep track of your family jobs. Your child will enjoy filling in the chart while marking that a job is complete.