"Consequently, my beloved brothers, become steadfast, unmovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord,
knowing that your labor is not in vain in connection with the Lord."
1 Corinthians 15:58
When we bring a child into the world, we are responsible for raising them to be responsible, mature adults. I remember thinking about what I did and do now effects how the child grows up and what he believes. They learn from us. Your values and morals will be ingrained into their minds. They will see what is important to us and believe that it should be important to them. Our first responsibility is to be devoted to God. We make God first in all we do. We make quiet time, Bible reading, church attendance, service to others, Bible study, Bible memory a priority in our lives.
We also model to them a good work ethic. My husband is committed to working hard. He only misses a day of work when he has to miss. He shows them to be respectful and helpful with his job. Although I do not have a job outside of work, I still show them I work hard at home. I do all of my responsibilities around the house before I "play". I do not waste time watching TV during the day. One of my sons says, "Do you ever sit down?". I'm not saying you have to be busy all the time! I'm not busy all the time. I do have a lot of downtime. I think showing them how to be responsible first shows them how they should be.
J.O.Y~ Jesus, Others, Yourself:
We want them to know that Jesus comes first in their lives. They are to make time for God every day. Read their Bible, memorize their Bible verses, and read a devotional at quiet time. Then we want them to put Others before themselves. A mature, responsible person will think about others' needs and serving them before their own. We teach them that others' feelings matter just as much as their own. As long as they have put God and others ahead of their own needs, they have learned selflessness! When they open the door for someone, they are showing God's love by putting others first. By sharing, they are putting the other persons interests ahead of their own. Thus, showing God's love. This is a very mature and responsible characteristic. Please see the Character section for more details on this.
* Character section will be added next week.
Teaching to be responsible can start as young as 2 years old. We teach them how to put their clothes on, how to brush their teeth, how to brush their hair, putting clothes in the hamper, sorting colors for socks, helping mix when baking,etc... There are so many ways a little one can help. Try to look for ways. Be patient and let them try things. The younger they start, the easier it will be for them as they get older.
We assign chores because we want them to be responsible and self-sufficient. Children can have chores starting at the age of 2. When you assign chores make sure they are age appropriate. Each year of age, you can add additional chores. When children learn to do chores it helps the home function well. Don't allow "I can't " attitudes.
2-3 years old~ dust with socks on their hands, put toys away, put clothes in hamper, wipe up a mess with a rag, put food in a pet bowl (with a small cup), sort clothes by color, put napkins on table, help in the garden.
4-5 years old~ dust, help prepare a meal, set silverware on table, put clothes in their drawers, fold towels, help put groceries away, clear the table, set the table.
6-8 years old~feed pets, bath pets, sweep, mop, clean toilet, vacuum, take out trash, start laundry, fold and put away laundry, walk pets.
9-12 Years old~ wash dishes, do own laundry, wash cars, prepare a meal, clean bath tubs/showers, rake leaves.
13-17 years old~ prepare meals alone, do all laundry(wash, dry, fold, put away), prepare meals, wash windows, replace light bulbs, replace vacuum bags, clean appliances.
Here is my kids chore list.
Responsibility for Self:
Teach self-sufficiency by building children's self esteem and self-confidence. They also learn they get more freedom with more responsibility. Starting at a young age we teach the importance of good hygiene. We make sure they bath, brush teeth, brush their hair, and use deodorant. When they are young we help them to do this. As they get older, it is so part of their routine they know it is something that just must be done.
I also help them learn to manage their school papers and homework. They have binders they bring home with folders I need to sign. They are responsible for showing me everything when they get home from school. When they have school events or special dates to remember it is put on the calendar. If they forget a homework assignment, we do not run to their rescue. When they realize that behavior results in a bad grade they will be more apt to keep up with their assignment. If they leave their lunch at home and go hungry during lunch, they will not forget it the next day! I do not do their school projects for them!! I see all too often the parents of students putting their child's science projects together, make their solar system models, and making other models. It will not help my child by doing everything for him. He will not learn to be self-sufficient if everything is done for him.
Belongings- Oh, how often the children will lose one shoe! Just one! We have used several methods to organize everything in our home. And if your child has their own room or bed, the easiest way to keep up with their thing is in their room only! Keep their shoes in the their closets, clothes hung up and in drawers, toys in the places or boxes. Once your child knows there is a place for all of his belongings, then he is responsible for keeping up with them. If he cannot find his lost shoe or shin pad for his soccer practice, then he doesn't get to play. One of my sons loves soccer. It would be devastating to him to not be able to practice. But, he has learned to not lose it or forget it next time. He wouldn't have learned this lesson if I always did everything for him. If I kept up with his sports equipment then he would have blamed me for losing it. But since it was his responsibility, I have stopped that kind of behavior from happening.
Many times as the child grows older and is given more responsibility he will see more and more natural consequences. Natural consequence is one of the best disciplines. They see what they have done to cause something. And they see what they can do different next time to avoid it. If they leave their bike/or scooter in the driveway & it gets run over in the dark, then they won't do that again. If they forget to do their laundry and have no clean PE clothes, they will remember to do their laundry. If they do not turn in their school work and get a bad grade, they lose a privilege, and won't forget again. If they lose their money, they have to work hard again to replace it.
We do not give the children an allowance. We have tried many ways regarding this, but we don't believe giving an allowance. They are part of the family, so when we are doing chores around the house, we are working as a family unit. We supply any need that they have. If they have a "want," they have to work, save birthday, or Christmas money to get it. We encourage them to get small jobs from neighbors like raking leaves, weeding flowers beds, cutting grass, etc... When a child earns their own money for a "want," they are more appreciative of the object. When they have enough money to open a savings account, we encourage them to do so. When they show responsibility, we allow them to have a checking account. We teach them how to keep up with balance. By the time they are going to college they will have proper knowledge of how to save and use money.
Their Effect on their Brothers and Others:
They are all taught that their actions will be seen by their brothers and others around them. They are responsible for how they behave. If one of their actions causes problems with someone else, then they are disciplined, also. We want them to know they are a significant part of this family. The "trickle-down" effect happens here, too. When they show their brothers respect and love, then the little ones will do the same. When they behave in respectful manner to others, then they will do the same.
Everyone is to respect each others' belongings. When someone is sharing a toy, they have to take care of it. If they don't, I won't let them have it. When borrowing something they have to return it in the same condition or even better. As an example that we have shown them: We had to borrow my parents' vehicle one day. Before we returned it, we washed it inside and out. We talked about the importance of caring for others belongings. If someone sees them respect others belongings, then they will be respected and trustworthy. With more responsibility comes more freedom!
More on Self-Reliance:
Our goal for teaching them responsibility from a young age is self-reliance. The older they get, the less they should depend on an adult. We want them to be able to do things for themselves. As babies we have to change their diapers, bath them, feed them. The older they grow the less they depend on us. My Bible study teachers says , "We should be working ourselves out of a job." Her comment is more about raising a Godly child and I will emphasize more on that subject in the Faith section. But her comment is true about teaching self reliance. Everything we teach our children should be growing them, maturing them into Godly, responsible adults.