Helping kids is not an easy topic no matter how you look at it. When a parent takes on the responsibility of having a child, the responsibilities never seem to end, even in times when they are grown up and moved out of the house years ago. So how can we as parents help our children to reach a stage where they can start taking care of themselves? At what age should a child start learning responsibilities and that there is consequences to their actions? Most importantly, how do you teach your child these things without alienating them or cause them to rebel against your teachings.
Before you as a parent start to teach your children discipline and principles, stop and think what you want to teach your child. How do you want your child to help you, what do you expect from them? Make a list of things that you can start with when they reach an age where they understand the words yes and no. We live in a world where you as a person have to live by a certain code, although this code is not written down for some odd reason it is unmistakably clear. Let us start from the beginning, from the age of a toddler.
Once your infant reaches the stage where he or she can understand the two most important words being yes and no, you as parents can teach your child the first important task. You start to teach your little one on how to help mommy or daddy pick up all the toys that you played with. This does not necessarily have to be a straight. Since your toddler is at a stage where helping a parent to please them make them smile but does not enjoy cleaning up, can become a game by itself. You as parent can turn this situation into a positive learning experience and get the job done. You can either start teaching your child colours, shapes or textures during this activity by sorting the toys as you put them away. At a later stage, you can even start by teaching your little one how to count.
The next stage in your life with your child would be between the ages of 4 to 9. This is a stage in your child’s life were they start to develop their own personalities. Getting your child to help you out or even excepting help from a parent is not easy. They are at a stage where they want to do things for themselves. Now the question is how you can get your child to except help or get them to help without having to turn the situation into a screaming match. There is two ways to go about this. Before we get to the solution, we have to look at the problem. As a parent, you know that since your little one was borne they have been in a routine. Children do well with routines; once the routine is disrupted, you have chaos on your hands. Keep to this principle, think about what you want from your child, put it down on paper and do not vary. For example if you want your child to help you out by picking up the toys, putting their dirty laundry in the wash, put the plates and cups in the sink etc. it has to stay consistent.
Once you have established what you want your little one to do, the best way to help your child would be to praise good behaviour and condemn bad behaviour. Now we said there is to ways to go about this, let us have a look at what can help both the child and parent. The most common way is to set up a chart. Giving your little one a star for every task completed which can be exchanged for a reward. The second choice would be to give into any child’s heart desire a pet. By now most parents are cringing with a definite no, having in mind a dog, cat or even a bird. Although it does not have to be any of these, the perfect pet choice would be a fish. By taking your child out window-shopping for bowls, decoration and lastly the fish, you help your child to strive towards these goals.
They learn the responsibility by taking care of a pet; help you as parent out by completing their tasks, looking forward to the end of the week where they can add a new attribute to their collection and both parent and child can enjoy this hobby. Turning it into a family bonding time.