A big part of changing kids' irresponsible attitudes is to flat-out require responsibilities, and the easiest place to begin is right at home. First, think about the responsibilities you want to delegate to each child.You might even gather the troops and brainstorm together all the things they should be responsible for and additional ways they could help out at home. These might include household chores (watering plants, making beds, dusting), personal responsibilities (brushing teeth, showering), personal possessions (putting toys, bicycles, video games away), and school (do homework to the best of your ability, return library books). Then clearly spell out to each family member your expectations and the consequence for incompletes. (See Step 5.) Go through each responsibility step by step at least once with your kid so that she clearly knows how to do it.This is the time when you can correct any poor habits.
Most kids, especially younger ones, need reminders. Charts using words or pictures that list job assignments, responsibilities, and completion dates are helpful. Even nonreaders can "read" their responsibilities on a chart with pictures of what they are expected to do. Kids can then off mark their responsibilities as they are completed.
Whatever you do, don't do any task your child can do for herself. She'll never learn to be responsible if she knows you'll finish the job for her. Recognize your role is helper, not doer. Once you get your role straight, your battles are half over.After all, the work responsibility rests in your kid's hands, not yours. So keep your role straight in your mind as well as in your kids' minds.
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