April SEL Word of the Month-RESPONSIBILITY

Responsibility is the moral obligation to behave fairly in consideration of self and others.

"Ingraining responsibility in children is not a trick but is simply teaching them life skills," says Dr. Karen Ruskin, Psy.D, author of The 9 Key Techniques for Raising Respectful Children Who Make Responsible Choices. "Kids who do not have responsibilities feel entitled and think the world will always do for them."

Raising responsible kids who know how to make a sandwich can be a reality!

Here are some tips…

  1. Start young and show them the way.  Teach toddlers to put their toys away when finished playing.  Teach them to say please and thank you. Teach Preschoolers to turn off the lights when leaving a room, to set the table, and to wipe the sink when done brushing their teeth.  Teach kids 6-11 to vacuum a room, to pack their own lunch, and to order for themselves at restaurants. Teach kids 12+ to figure out the correct tip when eating out and involve them in planning and preparing dinner once a week.  

  2. Let them help you.  Invite them to help with housework.  The job may not be done perfectly but it is teamwork and precious time with your child.

  3. Model responsibility.  For example, at the end of mealtime say, “Now we put our dirty dishes in the sink.”  Be the person you want your children to be. Responsibly control your own behavior before expecting your children to control theirs.

  4. Praise them.  Kids love to help and want to help.  Be sure to thank them and tell them you are proud of them for hanging up their coat, putting away their laundry, or cleaning up their room. 

  5. Provide structure and routine.  Kids thrive on order.  Start each morning with an expected routine…Eat breakfast, wash face and hands, brush teeth, get dressed before watching TV.

  6. Teach consequences.  For all of us, every choice made results in a consequence; some good,

  7.  some bad.  Alex Barzvi, licensed, clinical psychologist says, "Parents are afraid to let kids be sad or angry, but if we always solve children's problems, they will not learn to be responsible as they grow up."  When we hold our children accountable for their actions we are raising responsible children.

To quote Lou Holtz, “The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.”

Take responsibility for your life today!

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