You have undoubtedly all heard the stories of children who simply seem “too good to be true”. Whether they are said to be helping around the house a lot, rather than always sitting in front of the television, or they are not arguing about everything or refusing to do chores etc. these “saintly” children may seem a far cry from your own. Whilst these tales unquestionably need a heavy pinch of salt at times, there are some children who seem more ready to accept a degree of responsibility or simply be more helpful/respectful. The question is, of course, why is this the case?
Raising children is hard, however, there are no magic solutions to real-life problems, and you will often grow tired and weary of the battles. But try not to worry as all hope is not yet lost. There are ways in which you can improve their development and increase their levels of responsibility, if you’re prepared to put in a little (extra) effort. If it sounds like an investment worth making, then read on for the advice…
It is easier to start young rather than to suddenly try and impose a new regime on a teenager for example. Handing out responsibility to children should start early. One way of doing this is to instil a little pride of ownership in their belongings – their clothes, possessions, and toys etc.
Making a child feel proud to own and wear their favourite jumper, for example, will mean that they are less likely to simply throw it onto the floor once they are done with it. This can be achieved by a very simple method using custom clothing labels. Instead of having just a uniform or outfit, labelling the same as their own will suddenly attach a meaning and value to it. You might use just a name, or a more adventurous custom clothing label with patterns, colours or graphics, but what you are doing is turning an item of everyday clothing into “their” possession. They will identify better with the item and are more likely to take more care of it. This is the beginning of the process.
Kids actually like to help sometimes, but because it can potentially slow you down, you may just dismiss the idea. But whilst it will take you slightly longer, it gives them a sense of achievement and pride in their efforts. Looking at the example above, you could perhaps get your child involved in picking or designing the custom label, and applying the same so that they immediately identify it as their creation. This will increase the effectiveness when it comes to instilling a pride of ownership.
Show And Tell
As well as showing children how to do things, tell them why it needs to be done and how to do it. Looking at labels again, you can demonstrate how they can be applied, tell them why they are needed – especially on school uniforms and then once they have been applied explain what a great thing it is to have achieved. Praise reasserts the positive benefits and can help create new behaviours.
Things will not change overnight, so ensure that you do not raise your hopes up too much at the start. Small steps forward are all progress, and should be applauded. However, it might be simple to try and “cheat”, by offering rewards for any acts. That diminishes the act itself and the achievement. It also sets a dangerous precedent of needing to “buy” all future help. The reward should be in the achievement itself.
All actions have consequences and these should always be explained and discussed. The benefits of undertaking a task can also be explained by setting out how it will avoid negative consequences – such as being able to identify any item of lost clothing etc.
These are just a few little tips and ideas to help instil positive attitudes and behaviours into your children. It doesn’t mean that they’ll be easily achieved, of course not, but with a little perseverance, progress can be made over time. If by individualising a uniform or jumper, hat, coat etc. it can make it feel more like a treasured possession rather than just a “thing”, then the belonging is likely to receive better care and treatment. Just think, if something as simple and easy as custom clothing labels can help teach responsibility and pride of ownership, then there is perhaps hope for everyone.