Raising all-rounded children starts right from when they can understand simple instructions. Children need to know they are expected to be responsible, disciplined, and active participants in family activities.
During the quarantine period, many parents had to deal with unruly, indisciplined and irresponsible behaviour. Parenting gaps need to be addressed for families to bring up all-rounded children. How do you start instilling good behaviour and a sense of responsibility in your children’s life?
Children as young as two years know when they make mistakes. Sometimes they do something to gauge your reaction. Start by teaching the kids the importance of putting their toys away after playing, and when they don’t, call them to do it rather than do it for them. You might have to repeat a few times because kids are generally forgetful, but eventually, they’ll learn to do it.
Pick age-appropriate tasks and increase the responsibilities as the child grows. For instance, three or four-year-olds should learn how to change clothes and not leave them on the floor but in the laundry basket. Check a variety of durable yet stylish wicker or cane basket for storage which are more durable and easier to maintain.
Your child should also learn that their personal space is their responsibility. It would be best if you didn’t pick stuff on the floor or tidy the room when they don’t do it. Let them know you expect their rooms to be clean and neat. As you instil these values, they will become more responsible, organised and focused adults.
Have a Schedule
Children should know what’s expected from them right from the time they wake up. For instance, they should make their beds, tidy their room and clean up before sitting down for breakfast. Also, it’s essential to have scheduled tasks so that everyone knows what they need to do when they wake up. It will be easier to talk about chores when the mind is not engaged in other activities such as playing.
Also, children over the age of three shouldn’t leave their dirty dishes on the dining table. Alternatively, you can create a duty roster where each child clears the table on a specified day. When kids are at home, they should help out with the duties. Even a two-year-old can help pick papers or small items on the floor.
The best time to assign the duties is after breakfast when everyone is energetic and eager to work. Schedule each task to ensure it’s completed on time. If your children have never done chores, they might not like it but will eventually get used to the new routine. Be strict, and don’t let anyone slack. Also, put away their phones, the TV’s or games until they are through with the tasks.
Lead by Example
Kids usually emulate what they see. What you say doesn’t make sense if you don’t follow through. For instance, if you want the kids to like chores, let them see you in action. Leaving your room untidy only to reprimand them when they don’t clean theirs contradicts your values. Also, if you expect them to clean their dishes after a meal, do the same. Don’t leave dirty utensils in the sink if you don’t expect your kids to do the same.
Critically think about how you want your children to behave, then mirror those habits. Kids also learn from how you treat others. Do you respect your employees, strangers and subordinates? How do you talk when angry? If you realise your kids use abusive language, they probably picked it from you or other adults. Also, it’s essential to listen to your kids and process their emotions.
Allow Kids to Make Mistakes
Part of being a child is learning how to do most things, and making mistakes is part of learning. When your child makes a mistake, being harsh will do more damage than patiently correcting them. Don’t raise your voice or demean them because reprimanding kids when they make mistakes lowers their self-esteem. They might never want to try out things independently when you constantly disapprove.
Some kids take longer than others to learn new things. Be patient and don’t get irritated even when you have to repeat something constantly. As long as they are genuinely trying to learn, guide and encourage them.
Instil the Importance of Family Unity
Children who grow up in a happy, warm and loving family tend to be happier, healthier, and more confident adults. They also tend to value the family set up more. Let the children learn to respect and love one another and never show favouritism. When you favour some kids over others, it builds resentment, divides the kids, and makes some angry and bitter. Even when you have kids of different age and abilities, spend quality time with each.
Most parents tend to spend more time with younger kids and forget the older ones also need them as much. To bond with the kids, spend time doing things they love, such as playing games, reading storybooks, or sightseeing. Also, make sure you have a meal together every day. Dinner is the best time when everyone is relaxed and back from work or school. Spend time enjoying the food and get to know how the kids’ day was.
Love and Respect Your Partner
Also, treat your spouse with respect. Never argue in front of the kids. Publicly show support to your spouse even when you disagree but show your indifference privately. The kids will learn the importance of family unity, caring for one another and building happiness together.
As you will realise, kids usually learn most things from observation. Later on in life, you’ll discover your children behave just like you even when they resent some of your habits. As you mould your child, you are not only making your home happier and better, but you are taking part in creating a better society for future generations.
When they are grown up, they will appreciate that you took time to teach them basic life skills that made them more independent, confident and happier adults. They’ll also do the same for their kids.