Friday, March 13, 2009

Kid Friendly Friday! Raising Responsible Kids

Super Hubby & I started on the family a little later than many. I'm...ahem...what you would call an 'older mom'. It was intentional, and luck I suppose. But I always knew that this parenthood gig would be one of great importance. And I didn't take on the thought, nor the actuality of it, lightly. I knew it was time when Super Hubby and I found one another and decided that we'd venture through the rest of our lives, together. I knew he would be a great dad because we talked long and often about our values. One of those values that we agreed upon so adamantly was the concept of raising responsible kids. Responsible not only for themselves, but each other, responsible to God and truly for their world that surrounds them.

We've also realized that in the mere four years that we've been working at this task, how truly monstrous the task at hand is. So we try very hard to break it into smaller increments and work the value of responsibility in at every opportunity we can. Daily, we talk aloud at how they must be responsible for their environment. The house belongs not just to Mama and Daddy but to us all and we all must care for it. Now before you envision child labor, I'll clarify that at 3 & 4 years old, we give them age-appropriate responsibilities. Here is a list of things we have them do already:

*The oldest is responsible to help feed the dogs. He cannot reach the food yet but once I've gotten the container for him, he places the food in their respective dishes and calls them to eat.
*Both boys take recycled items to the bins in the garage.
*They clear their dirty dishes from the table and place them into the sink after meals.
*They help set the table before meals.
*They help clear their toys and pick up their room, daily. They don't get everything in the correct place but as long as the attempt is made, we consider it success!
*Yesterday they helped in the yard, raking leaves and cleaning up. This really rather equated to raking a few leaves into a pile with their kid-sized rakes but we talked a lot about responsibility of keeping the yard looking nice. They were pretty proud of their leaf pile!
*They throw away their own trash instead of just handing it to a parent.

It doesn't really equate to a lot of work, but all of these little tasks, and the discussions about responsibility that go with them will add up over time. We use the word RESPONSIBILITY a lot in our home. We want them to understand the concept and more importantly, practice it often. What we don't know yet, obviously, is the difficult task of teaching and enforcing responsibility as they grow. What we do feel very confident in though, is how teaching this particular value now at these young ages prepares them so much more for the challenging tasks that lie ahead.

Head on over to for more Kid Friendly Friday bits of wisdom! It's fantastic!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

This is a great post. We do the same thing BUT we haven't really used the term a lot. I'm going to start with that because it i so inportant for kids to grow up knowing that they ARE responsible for all sorts of things. When I taught high school I had students all of the time that never took responsibility for anything....and you could tell it wasn't a priority at home.