It’s no magic act: Responsible children will turn into capable adults.
As parents, our job is to teach our kids how to care for themselves and others. So how do we do it? More chores? Less screen time? Here are six tasks we can implement into our children’s lives to help ease them into adolescence—and eventually adulthood.
And it just keeps getting easier! Make a checklist to help guide your children through the morning. Have your child prepare their own breakfast. Meals such as peanut butter toast, a bowl of cereal or a banana and yogurt are quick and easy for weekday mornings. Your child can also be responsible for packing their own homework, notes, pens and pencils into their backpacks.
Set an alarm
You can’t follow your child to college and wake them up every morning (fight the urge). Encourage your child to set an alarm for school. This small step will train them to be punctual and save you the morning hassle.
“It not you; it’s me.”
Children have the tendency to shift blame onto others. According to Kate Roberts, Ph.D., a Boston-based psychologist, children don’t understand that everyone makes mistakes, so they tend to blame others in order to avoid disapproval and negative consequences. As a parent, you can discuss the importance of owning up to mistakes with your children, and explain why honesty is so important. This valuable lesson will never age and will be one they’ll remember to apply in dealings with future workmates, friends and their spouse.
What’s for dinner?
With a bit of safety training and some simple recipes, children can produce plateable meals that will surely improve over time. Set a new family rule: Children must cook one family dinner a week. As your children age, they will start to realize that cooking meals that taste good will elevate their social standing! It’s a win-win really.
Get a job.
Balancing school with work will teach teens the importance of prioritizing responsibilities and managing their time. Although they might not be too fond of this idea at first, there is a certain satisfaction that is only brought about by being able to buy something you want with your own hard-earned money. Learning to manage money is a life skill that everyone needs to have. Plus, it never hurts to have experience to add to your résumé.
“Can we get a pet?”
Kids who take care of pets learn what it feels like to have a living creature rely on them for food, water and the occasional walk. Caring for a pet teaches commitment and respect for life. Try saying “no” to that logic.