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  • How to Help Your Child Learn the Value of Responsibility (Don't Raise a 'Burara')

    Teaching self-management and organizational skills early means the chances are higher that tidying up becomes a habit.
    by Rachel Perez .
How to Help Your Child Learn the Value of Responsibility (Don't Raise a 'Burara')
PHOTO BY Pixabay
  • Do you often find yourself picking up after your kids? It's typical for toddlers to make a mess, but that's because they have yet to learn to pack their things away. And they learn from us, which means we need to teach them two skills: self-discipline and organization.

    And you need to teach these life skills during their early childhood years. That way, it comes naturally to them as they grow (read: you won't have to nag them). The one challenge they face: our overprotective ways where we feel the need to rescue them. And let's face it — we become impatient when they take too long to accomplish a task that we end up doing it for them.

    Teaching self-management and organizational skills early means the chances are higher that tidying up becomes a habit. Kids will find it easier to adapt when their responsibilities pile up or get a bit complicated as they grow.

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    Here are simple ways that teach your child how to keep their things and workspaces — and later on, his adult life! — more organized

    1. Assign your children chores!

    If you haven't done so already, introduce responsibility by giving your preschooler age-appropriate chores. Start with those that involve self-care: brushing his teeth and cleaning his bottom. Then move to him being in charge of his belongings especially when you travel. Then it's on to tidying up his study table after he is done. Then, gradually transition them into bigger tasks by giving them duties for the home. (Click here for more tips on giving your children chores!)

    2. Don't limit your kids' chores to the easy ones.

    “We hold back too long because we think they ought to be ready first,” Roger W. McIntire, University of Maryland psychology professor and author of Raising Good Kids in Tough Times, told WebMD. But the best way for your child to be ready is by learning on the job, adds McIntire.

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    Show your kids how to do "hard," tasks but don't expect them to learn it instantly. Jumping in to help or to correct how he's doing a task tells your child he can't do them or if mom or dad will always be there to swoop in and save the day. With practice, he can get them done as neatly as you would.

    3. Give kids the tools to get organized.

    It's hard to teach organization when they lack the tools to keep their things neat and orderly. Set up their space, so they have enough room to work. Another is providing your child labeled bins, boxes, containers, and what-not to keep their stuff. Involve your kids and teach them how to use them as and while they work, so that packing up later is easier and faster. (One mom actually bought her daughter kiddie-sized cleaning tools. Read her story here.)


    4. Break down huge tasks.

    Cleaning up a room, even if it's their room, can be overwhelming for young children. So give them step-by-step instructions to help them focus on the small tasks that make up a colossal chore. It could mean packing away big toys first or tidying his bed first before moving on to his toys or art materials.

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    5. Allow breaks but keep them in line.

    Emphasize to your kids they should finish what they started. Sure, you can allow your kids to take breaks in between tasks, but give them a concrete schedule. It's similar to setting expectations and limits. Using a timer may help your child keep his goal in mind. Gently remind kids of what needs to be done, so they don't lose sight of the goal. Make sure you're being consistent with your rules and follow through them, said psychologist Dr. Laura Markham for Psychology Today.


    6. Motivate your child.

    "Learning how to order work effort within a time frame is an important self-disciplinary and organizational skill," wrote psychologist Dr. Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., for Mother.ly. Hold off giving too many rewards and praises, but do call attention to your child's efforts rather than the results. You can also lay down some rules. For example, no screen time unless your child finishes tidying up his room.

    7. Model self-management and organization skills.

    Practice what you preach. Keep YOUR workspace neat and clean. And make sure your child doesn't see you not doing what you taught him.

    It's easy to nag until your child finished the job, but this defeats the purpose of teaching self-discipline and organization skills. These two like skills help kids learn the value of work and the rewards that come from accomplishing tasks. It's worth noting as well that it teaches kids that while work is not always fun or easy, doing so in a neat and orderly may help them get better results in a shorter amount of time.

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