We have all heard about the 3 “R”s in academics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, but in reality, there is a fourth “R”, which is responsibility.
Ask any teacher about this fourth component and he/she will tell you the most prevalent challenge for students is demonstrating responsible behaviors with their school assignments. Learning responsibility begins at home, so following are a few ways to help your children grow in personal responsibility which will carry over into the classroom.
• Add small jobs at home in and around the house. It can be something as simple as feeding the pets on specific days or collecting trash from around the house and taking it to the street. Perhaps a task such as vacuuming the house each Saturday morning could be assigned. Small jobs at home help children foster a sense of belonging to their family and taking pride in their homes.
• Give small rewards to your children when jobs are done beyond what was expected. Rewards can be as simple as verbal praise and a smile! Be careful to not shower your children with too much praise for tasks that are expected to be complete since doing so can be counterproductive.
• Talk to your children about the various home responsibilities of each family member so they understand how each is vital to the process and how each works together for a successful outcome. Providing a logical reason for home tasks is important to children! You can also teach them the concept, “The sum of the parts is greater that the whole.”
• Open up a dialogue about setting goals. Encourage your child to set his or her own goals and to write them down on paper where they can see them daily. It is important that children come up with their own ideas of goals to set.
• For young children, assign tasks that can be accomplished in a very short time. It is important that young children experience a beginning and end to the goal. It can be as simple as putting away game parts before taking another game from the shelf to play. Be sure to assign tasks that the child is physically and/or cognitively capable of completing.
• Query your children at the conclusion of tasks regarding how they feel they did. For example, you might ask how they would rate their performance, what they learned as a result of completing the task or what they would do differently if anything, the next time.
Fostering responsibility in children requires parents to exert their energy and time. It is well worth the effort because in doing so, children will display this same level of responsibility in the classroom and eventually in the workplace.
Carol is the Founder & Owner of Total Learning Concepts, Inc. Visit www.totallearningconcepts.com for information about their tutorial and test preparation services. For more information about Total Learning Concepts, Inc., please call 770-381-5958 or visit http://www.totallearningconcepts.com and