Thailand considers children to be their most valuable resource of the nation, celebrating Children’s Day, known as Wan Dek, as an annual holiday. This day highlights the importance of teaching responsibility to children, which will enable them to become strong and independent members of society as they get older, helping them to develop essential life skills. It’s important to do this from a young age where routines and consequences are put in place to help them learn.
Teaching children responsibility should start early on and be age-appropriate. Toddlers can be taught to put toys away when they’re done playing. They may not understand why they need to do this as a young age, but it gives them a routine, which kids thrive on. As children get older they can join in with things like shopping to help them learn about budgeting, helping with chores to earn some money and they can be encouraged to take charge of their own time management. This can be done by sitting down with them and helping them to plan what time they’ll do homework and when they’ll relax after school. This can all take a bit of time, effort and patience on your behalf but it helps to teach them valuable lessons that are important later in life.
It can be tempting to give children rewards when they show that they’re taking responsibility, but it’s important not to. As they grow into adults they won’t be rewarded in life for doing the basic things they need to, so you need to teach them this from the start to help manage their expectations. They’re not doing things in order to get a reward, they’re doing them because they need to be done, such as to keep their room tidy, do their homework or put their dishes in the sink. However, if your child does something more than is expected, this can be rewarded to show that you appreciate and acknowledge what they’ve done. Some children will thrive on praise, while some like the feeling of completing their jobs and following routines. In some cases, some children may benefit from reward charts, such as if you’re teaching responsibility at an older age and need something to motivate them.
Teaching routines to kids is important for them to get into good habits that help them to learn responsibility. When you meet resistance from your child, which will always happen at some point, you need to give them consequences. For example, when they get home from school they need to do homework, empty their bag and get changed before they can watch TV or go out and play. TV or playing isn’t a reward as taking responsibility isn’t about receiving rewards, but it’s the end result of getting the jobs they need to do done. This will affect how they deal with bigger responsibilities as they get older, helping them to prioritize them before leisure activities that can be done afterwards.
Teaching your children responsibility comes in many forms, all with the hope of them learning something important that will benefit them throughout their life. This includes financial responsibility, managing their time and understanding that they have to do things in life that they may not enjoy in order to achieve things.