Teaching Responsibility: How I Plan to Start at an Early Age

It is extremely difficult to teach responsibility to children, especially at an early age. Children want to do what they want when they want and not have to worry about cleaning up after. That is why toys are left all over the house, clothes all over the floor, and dishes on the table.

I know I didn’t want to take any responsibility for any of those things as a kid and even as a teenager. I left everything all over my bedroom floor and never picked up despite being asked. My chore was to do the dishes and I would avoid doing those as long as possible. But once I was in high school, I finally figured out I needed to take responsibility for my actions. It definitely started out small but I grew to take larger responsibilities.

Kids do need to take responsibility for themselves so that when they are on their own, they know to handle basic things like cleaning and doing dishes. Here is my plan to teach my daughter responsibility at a young age.

Begin with something small

My plan is to begin with picking up toys that she used and place it in a bin where her toys are stored. I know that this is where a lot of parents start and it can be effective. I will start by explaining that these toys are hers but only if she cares for them. Caring for them will include putting them away and making sure nothing bad happens to them.

Move to a bigger responsibility and keep the old one

As she continues to grow, I want to move to a responsibility like putting her plate on the counter after eating. It will teach her to clean up after meals and show how a small action like that can help the bigger task of doing the dishes.

Give total responsibility over a task

Once multiple smaller responsibilities are taken care of, it will be time for full responsibility over a task. I will move up to doing dishes from placing dishes on the counter. Another could be doing her own laundry. The prior task might be placing clothes in a hamper and bringing that to the laundry room when it is full. She can then learn to do her own laundry.

Provide avenues to independence

As tasks won’t be completed if she does not do them, she will realize having this responsibility is important. From there, I want to provide different ways to independence. Laundry is one way to independence, another is to teach her how to cook. I also want to teach things like how to mow the lawn and change tires so that she is able to handle all aspects of living on her own.

 

Many kids don’t know how to handle basic responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, or taking care of the yard. This makes it difficult to grow in their own independence. I want to teach my daughter responsibility from an early age so when she does go on her own to college or her first job, she feels comfortable and not scared of being on her own. These steps are what I hope to achieve so that she is ready and wants independence as she grows, but knows how to handle responsibilities that come with growing up.

Cheap and Free Activities for Kids

It is easy in this day and age for kids to spend all of their time playing on their phones or playing video games. As  parents work and have extra duties like cleaning the house, or mowing the yard, it is even easier to let them use technology often. Here are some cheap or free easy activities for kids that include exercise and learning while having fun.

Camping

Camp out at a campground in a tent or under stars. Build a fire and show your kids the right way to do it while being safe. Play night games and roast marshmallows. This is fun and informative about camping/survival skills.

High School Sports

They are normally only a few bucks per person to get into and can show kids what it could be like if they want to play high school sports. It gives them motivation to try and reach that level.

Disc Golf

Play disc golf at a nearby course. Only one disc is needed for beginners and there are plenty of courses that are free to play. Kids release energy trying to throw the disc as hard as possible and walking the course provides good exercise.

Visit the Library

Take a trip to the library. Books can engage the imagination. Most libraries also have activities for kids as weekly or monthly events.

Water Balloon Fights

Have a water balloon fight. Water balloons are only a few dollars for a pack and kids can run around throwing these. Be careful though and make sure the pieces are picked up. Add that as a responsibility for the kids to learn to clean up after themselves.

 

Kids become easily distracted, especially as technology advances. Use these ideas to get kids up and moving, to spend time outside, and exercise. They can also be family activities and can bring the family together for a day of fun. This can create deeper bonds with the family and the kids will be excited to have fun.

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are always the rage for at least a couple weeks after the new year begins. They can be anything from eating healthier and exercising to trying a new clothing style. Most people say they will commit to new year’s resolutions, but end up giving up before the spring starts. The reasons include not having enough time, not enough money, or enough strength to stay committed.

It is even tougher for parents to stick to any type of new year’s resolution. Whenever there seems to be a free moment, something happens with a child and the resolution gets pushed to the back of the mind and forgotten. Parents put their children first, especially when their children need anything. This makes it difficult to do anything outside of necessary commitments.

I may not have a toddler, only a two-month-old, but there still seems to be little extra time. I come home from work, have supper, spend time with my wife and daughter, and It is already bed time. It feels like there is no time for editing manuscripts as I do on the side, any time to rest, or exercise. But I need to find time to do these things. I have duties to do with editing. I need time to exercise as I haven’t really done any exercise since running the Indy Mini Marathon in May. Taking time to rest and relax is important.

It feels impossible to accomplish all of that in a day. All of it may not happen every day because there are more important things to do—like work and spending time with my wife and daughter. Portioning out time in the day can help, and planning tasks that need accomplished will provide clear cut direction. Calendars and planners are essential to completing everything that needs done. I like to write down events in my calendar and write every task I need to complete. It helps me stay focused and even if I don’t complete everything that day, I move over what needs to be done still to the next day(s).

Here are a few steps that I am using and think will be useful for you too:

1    Don’t dwell on everything that must get done.

It is too easy to become overwhelmed by all the tasks that need completed. Take a deep breath and think about something fun. It can be seeing your child smile or a family outing that happened recently (as long as it had a fun moment, of course). This will help bring your mind at ease just for a little bit to help you get started. Prioritize the tasks and take them one at a time.

2   Plan out your day in a written, tangible way

If you are anything like me, it is too easy to forget things. It doesn’t matter if it is extremely important, I have probably forgotten it. I can promise you (and my wife can too) that I have forgotten necessary items because I didn’t write them down. Use a calendar or a planner or an app of either, but write/type it out. I have written events in the monthly calendar and then in the daily/weekly sections written the exact same thing plus any specific tasks that don’t require being input into the calendar. As long as I write down all of my tasks and look at my planner, I will know what needs to get done that day and what can wait if an issue or unexpected event comes up. This makes it simple on what I expect to get done and will make sure I don’t forget anything.

3   Make sure to include me time

As I said earlier, it is extremely easy to constantly be doing something. It feels like there is always something, whether it be for work, family, or cleaning the house. It is important that we provide for our families with money to buy food, clothing, and shelter. It is also important to love our spouses and children on a daily basis. With all the people and jobs in our lives, it is easy to never end up spending time alone. But taking a breather and doing something alone that you enjoy can be relaxing and recharge your body and mind. Take a bath, read a book, go for a run, or watch a movie. Anything that provides the recharge time will be beneficial. It isn’t only to keep you sane, but keep you just a little bit healthier. That’s the point of most new year’s resolutions, right? To help us realize who we are and what we can do to improve our daily lives.

 

Take these steps, use them, and improve your life. You will feel like you have more control, feel healthier, and provide a better life for you and your family. Fulfill that resolution that you have been trying to finish for a long time, or complete a new goal. Follow these steps and you and your family will be thankful you did so.

Living Loudly

It’s been said that actions speak louder than words. Yet, I spent my college years studying how words can be crafted into amazing, beautiful stories. I discovered how each word has an enormous impact on the meaning of a sentence and in turn, how that affected the next sentence.

               Lately, I have realized that actions really do speak louder than words. I can say all the right things to make my wife happy, but I need to step up in my actions. Of course, sometimes I don’t say the right thing. But more often than not, my actions are in question. I don’t react in the right way when Sarah and I are having a conversation, or I don’t help her as much as I should as she is healing from childbirth. I have chosen myself plenty more times than I should have. I have focused on how I feel: whether I am hungry, thirsty, or tired. I chose to get myself food, water, and sleep before getting Sarah what she needs. I have failed in my duties as a husband often.

               Along with needing to work on my actions, there is another thought I have been contemplating. It is extremely easy to do life with Sarah and Eloise. I wake up each morning, help change diapers before I go to work, come home from work, make supper, and then we go to bed. I enjoy every second with them and can’t wait to see them when I get home from work. But it isn’t just about “doing life.” It is about helping Sarah and Eloise grow. Sarah and I have been married for two years now and it is so easy to go about each day as husband and wife without thinking about deeper issues. As a part of our vows, we agreed to help and guide each other to grow as human beings. I have been focusing on meaningless things in the everyday without remembering that part of our vows. I need to ask how I can make both Sarah and Eloise’s day better. I need to ask what I can do to make sure they know how much I love and care for them. I need to ask what I can do to make sure they grow, whether it be a few words or more importantly, an action.

               It isn’t easy to think about how every action one does effects multiple people. It worries me because I know I need to do better. I don’t handle situations correctly many times. I act quickly without thinking and after thinking about what I did for hours, I realize what I should have done. But by then, it was too late. Now, I am working on thinking about my actions and the consequences on others every day. Especially on my wife and daughter, who are the most affected by my actions. If I don’t commit good actions, I cannot help and guide them in a morally correct manner. It begins with myself, knowing who I am, and who I need to be to become the best husband and father that I can. It is a daily process, one I hope I can say changes me for the better so that I can be a positive difference-maker every day.