It is every parent’s goal to raise respectful, responsible children who will not only be able to take care of themselves, but also be kind to those around them.
According to Beverly Anderson, executive director for Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and on the West Allis/Wauwatosa border, “It is easy to raise respectful, responsible children, if you make them accountable for their actions from early on.”
Anderson offers these easy tips to consider:
Anderson suggests that by the age of four, you should make your children responsible for one or two simple chores each week. This can be as easy as making a bed or setting the table each night. As children grow, so can the complexity of each of the jobs assigned to them. The goal is to eventually show your children all the steps needed to complete a chore such as keeping a room clean or making a meal.
Anderson says that is it important to make sure your children understand what is expected of them. She recommends that you go over a chore in detail and create a checklist for your children to follow to ensure their success. For example, if your daughter’s chore is to take care of the family dog each morning, the instructions might include: 1. Let Mack outside to go to the bathroom. 2. Change Mack’s bowl of water. 3. Give Mack ½ cup of fresh food. 4. Let Mack back inside. By being specific, your daughter will understand what it takes to do the job right.
Hold Your Children Accountable
Anderson says to remember that, by the nature of their age, children will not be perfect with their chores. The important thing is that they are learning how to be an active part of the family. She adds that, while a job might not be done perfectly, it is important to hold children accountable for completing the chore and to thank them for successfully doing so. “If children don’t complete what is assigned to them, they need to realize that their lack of action will be followed by a consequence such as no electronics time for not following instructions. It is critical for children to learn early on that their actions (or lack of actions) have consequences, and that other people or creatures are counting on them.”
More Tips for School-Age Children
Another way to have your school-age children, ages 9-12, learn to be responsible is to have them learn to prepare a basic meal such as breakfast. “It is a real confidence builder for your children to know that, if they are hungry, they can make something,” says Anderson.
It is also a great idea to have school-age children watch a sibling while you prepare dinner or do yard work. This gives them a sense of responsibility yet doesn’t put too much pressure on them, because you are nearby if assistance is needed.
Other great ways to teach responsibility include having school-age children clean their rooms, walk to school, complete their homework within an agreed upon time frame, and manage an allowance.
“Instilling a sense of responsibility in your children early on can go a long way in helping them become productive, respectful adults,” says Anderson.
Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.
Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.
The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1138 S. 108th St., West Allis. For more information, please call the main office at 414.643.5070.