Although raising children can be a beautiful experience, it can be challenging at times. Especially when we’re trying to teach small children how to build manners and responsibility. Children are completely unaware of what it means to be responsible and exhibit good manners. They aren’t born automatically knowing how to behave. It is our responsibility to teach them how to be a respectful person. The first and most important step to teaching your child responsibility is to lead by example. Some parents make the mistake of thinking that small children are too young to notice the difference, but that’s not true at all.
Lead by Example
When children are small, they’re like sponges. They soak up everything they see and hear. So, it’s important to make sure you’re always trying your best to be responsible and respectful around your children. Especially when they’re small. Not only will they mimic your behavior, but it will stick with them when they’re older. Something as simple as always saying please and thank you can make a big difference in behavioral patterns. When a child grows up watching their parents use manners like this, it becomes a normal part of their life. Saying please, thank you, and holding doors open for people will just be normal human behavior to them.
Teach Them to Keep Their Word
At first, there is no need to teach your child what “keeping their word” means because it may be too complicated for them to understand. Instead, teach them to do it naturally by always keeping your word. If they see that you always keep your promises, they will follow your good example. The next thing you can do is encourage them to practice keeping their word according to different situations. It should be done gradually. Try something simple at first, then gradually introduce a more complicated scenario. For example, if you tell your child to stop playing, but they refuse, let them play for about 10 minutes more. Then when the time comes, tell your child their 10 minutes has passed. Most children will stop on their own without any difficulty at this point. If you tell your child one day that they have to stop playing when dinner is on the table, and they do it without a hitch, they are ready to learn what keeping their word is all about.
Now that they’ve gotten some practice keeping their word, the time has come to talk to them more about it. There is always a way to get a small child to listen to what you’re saying. Yes, you’ll probably have to repeat it a few times (okay a lot of times), but eventually, they will start to catch on to what you’re saying. First, explain what it means to “keep your word”. Then explain why it’s so important for them always to try and keep their promises. Use scenarios that a child would understand better. For example, you could ask them how they would feel if you gave your word that they could have ice cream after dinner, but told them no when dessert time came around.
You can allow your child to play 5 minutes longer before bed if they promise to“keep their word” and get right in bed after 5 minutes. Make sure they follow through and get right to bed afterward. Doing things like this will help them realize that things go a lot smoother when you stick to your promises.
Teaching your child to keep their word will instill good morals and honesty. Believe it or not, it can also help make things a little easier for us as parents too. As your child gets older and becomes a teenager, you’ll be able to trust them more when they tell you they’re giving you their word.
Always Clean Up After Yourself
Most parents will tell you that one of their biggest struggles is getting their kids to clean up their room or getting them to clean anything for that matter. The best way to get your children to clean up after themselves is to start teaching them to clean their room and pick up their toys at a young age. Whenever your child takes some toys out, encourage them to clean up when they’re done. Sometimes that can be easier said than done, which is why it may help to make cleaning seem like a fun task.
For example, you can play “the time” game with them. Ask your child if they want to play the time game. Tell them that to win the game, they must pick up all the toys on their floor in ten minutes. It doesn’t matter how you make it fun for them, just make sure they’re enjoying what they’re doing. It will make cleaning up a fun activity for them, and they will eventually start to show an initiative to clean up all by themselves.
Always Encourage A “Do It Yourself” Attitude
If your child makes a big deal out of doing everything by themselves, you should encourage it. Our kids will always be our babies. However, if we insist on doing everything for them, they will get used to relying on someone else to handle their responsibilities and their issues. A child that is encouraged to do things for themselves will develop independence and a can-do attitude. They’re also less likely to give up on something easily because they’re used to figuring things out by themselves. This is also something that will stick with your child into adulthood. If you encourage them to do things for themselves, they won’t depend on others when they’re older.
Don’t Let Your Child Play the Blame Game
If your child forgets to do something or gets in trouble and starts pointing fingers at everyone else, don’t turn a blind eye to it. Gently explain to your child why it’s not right to point the blame on others when things aren’t going right for them. This is important because it will teach your children to take responsibility for their actions. They will accept that a mistake has been made and they’ll be more likely to try and fix their problems on their own. You should also make your child aware that they’re also hurting the person that they’re blaming for their mistakes. This will help them understand that their actions can have an impact on other people.
Never Give-Into a Tantrum
No matter what, don’t ever give your children what they want because they’re throwing a tantrum. Your child will always think that they can get what they want by acting out, and that can become very dangerous as they get older. When you give in to a tantrum, on some level, your child is going to think that’s acceptable behavior. After your child has calmed down, explain to them that they will never get what they want in life by acting out like that. Tell them that they should apologize. Once they’ve apologized, give your little one a treat. This will help them realize that good manners and respect will work a lot better than throwing a tantrum.
It’s also important for us as parents to stay calm during a tantrum. Believe me, I know that’s a lot easier said than done, but try your very best not to lose your patience. Just relax, remind yourself that they’re just kids and this will pass in a few minutes. Don’t ever worry about what people around you are thinking, because the truth is that almost every parent knows what it’s like to be in your situation. Just calmly pick your child up and walk away. Don’t even say a word until they’ve calmed down. If you start to get frustrated, it will make the situation worse for everyone involved. Remember, kids will mimic exactly what you do. So, it’s essential to keep yourself composed.
GeniusKIDDY boards - Educational and Learning Toys for Toddlers of about 2 years old