This post about teaching kids responsibility is brought to you by Kiddo Tags, and I was provided free samples for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
As an educator, I know the best thing to teach children is responsibility. Everything else will follow.
Teaching responsibility to children comes by intentional practice. I have a list of several areas I want my children to be responsible in: their belongings, their words, and their actions.
Here’s five key areas preschoolers can take responsibility for their belongings:
Books – Small children can easily stack books, shelf them, or at least put them in a bin. Books are a primary focus in our house, so our son knows not to step on them. Not to leave them on the floor after reading time. Not to “color” in them. Not to leave them splayed open upside down.
Dishes – After every meal, I ask our son to take his dishes to the sink. He’s tall enough to reach over the counter and dump his bowl, cup, and utensils. (Oh, and he sometimes is asked to take his brother’s dishes too, which teaches him to look out for his sibling!).
Clothing – As soon as he could wriggle out of his clothes and dump them on the floor, they became his responsibility! Now he drops his pjs in the hamper in the morning, and puts his shoes in the bin when we come home from being out. He can’t fold yet, but he can lay clean clothing neatly on the end of his bed. Sometimes when I’m putting away laundry, I hand him socks or tshirts – he knows which drawers they go in. And if they aren’t put in neatly, at least he’s learning to put his things away!
Out & About – Goodness knows, I forget coats and bags often enough when picking him up from Sunday School or a relative’s house. It’s time consuming to make a trip back to retrieve items or have to buy a new one if it gets lost. So I’m teaching my son to look around and gather all his belongings when it’s time to go. Just so we can spot our things, I affix Kiddo Tags Name Labels to all the sippy cups, toys and snack bowls I send along!
I also use Kiddo Tags Clothing Tags to label important articles of clothing and the diaper bags. For these items, I customized my tags with the statement: “This Belongs to a Kieras.” Since the items are communal or will be passed down to siblings, the clothing tags (which stick to fabric SO well even through washings) help him notice his belongings among a pile of other children’s coats and bags (some of which look similar to his own). I think this helps him develop a sense of shared responsibility as we both make sure we aren’t leaving our things behind. (PS: no need to iron on these tags, although Kiddo Tags does make an iron-on version!).
Toys – Kids can certainly learn to sort and stash toys at a very young age. I also received the Kiddo Tags Dishwasher Safe Value Pack, handy for SO many objects like sippys, snack cups, pacis, and of course, TOYS! One way I use these tags is to label bins for his toys and the baby’s toys. Even though they play with the toys together, I like him to separate the baby toys when he cleans up. Cars and other toys the baby can’t play with go in his own toy bin. Having clearly labeled bins helps him know where each item should go – plus, sorting is an important preschool skill, so not only is he being responsible but he’s also practicing sorting skills and decision-making!
My son recognizes his own name in print, but not his brother’s. So I customized the Kiddo Tags to have different character icons for each boy. The baby gets airplanes and my toddler gets owls! Cute, right? Kiddo Tags has over 150 character icons, plus 18 colors and 25 fonts to customize labels for each child!
All these areas of responsibility are easy for preschoolers to master, and especially fun if there’s cute labeling involved! Plus children get a sense of satisfaction from being given the ability to manage their own little lives to anextent! (And maybe, just maybe, you won’t step on that Hot Wheels car for the fifty-sixth time today!).
What are some ways you teach your kids to be responsible? Do you have any exciting games, tips, or suggestions?
Thanks to Kiddo Tags for providing items for my use in creating this post. All opinions are 100% my own.