Parents often ask what is the right age to teach kids responsibility. I would say the sooner the better. 18-month-olds are old enough to understand simple commands and execute them. They also have the attention span to do small chores. This means you can assign them age-appropriate tasks which are easier and manageable and which teach them to be responsible.
Here are a few responsibilities every toddler should learn:
Taking responsibility of their own body: Firstly, kids should understand their body and its needs. Indicating that she wants to poop or has already peed in the diaper is the first social responsibility that a child learns. Teach your child to signal to you whenever she has the urge to visit the washroom. Also, she should know that cleaning hands after a visit to the washroom or playground and before eating meals is an absolute must.
Cleaning up: A toddler can pick up toys, games and books and put them in their respective shelves. My daughter started her kindergarten in a Montessori school and I was amazed to see her putting the toys she played with back on the shelf, as per the rules of the school the very first day. So, if you think your child is not capable of cleaning up the mess after her, think again.
Make it a fun activity instead of a chore. I remember singing the song “clean up, clean up, everybody do it yourself” with my daughter. She would sing the song and happily pick up the books, clothes or toys strewn on the floor.
Being socially responsible: All humans are social beings including little kids. Hence, it’s a good thing to teach your toddler to be loving and caring towards other living beings. Teach them not to pluck flowers, destroy plants, litter streets or hit pets or other kids. And, ask them to apologize for hurting other people. She can start with apologizing to her favourite dolly or teddy bear if she accidently hurts her.
Being truthful: “Johnny, Johnny, yes papa” is a fun rhyme for kids, but no parent actually wants their Johnny to lie to them. A small child should learn to speak the truth or rather he should not be afraid to speak the truth. Make sure you don’t scold or hit him when he has peed in his pants or broken your favourite china. It will encourage him to be truthful to you at all times. Also, encourage and appreciate him for his honesty, even if it is sometimes upsetting for you.
Helping in household chores: Kids learn from imitating. If your small child sees you working, he would want to come and help you. You can take advantage of his eagerness and make him do small chores like putting laundry in the machine, watering the plants, shelling peas or wiping the table with a cloth. It might lead to more work for you as he would not separate coloured clothes from the whites, but it’s worth it if it can teach your child to be responsible towards you and his home.
Parents need to dote on their kids. But, they also need to teach their kids responsibility so that they can make a positive contribution to their own lives and to the world. When you see a teenager helping his mother in the kitchen or a pre-schooler tidying up his own room, understand that it didn’t happen overnight or on its own. Their parents must have inculcated a sense of responsibility into their kids since a very young age which shaped them the way they are.
Source of banner image: thealternativedaily