Cultivating Responsibility in Your Child (page 2)

Cultivating Responsibility in Your Child

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Updated on Jun 10, 2008

Sneak in learning.
Use experiences as a means to help them to generalize and apply their knowledge and skills in meaningful ways.

  • When your child is learning to draw and color, encourage him or her to draw a picture of a gift they would like for their birthday or other special occasion.
  • When he is learning about colors, have him help match and put together socks.
  • When she is learning about taking turns and helping others, look for opportunities for her do to this at playgrounds, with siblings, and on play dates. Be specific about teaching her things she can do to assist others: standing behind a friend climbing the ladder, going down a slide with a younger child, assisting a child who has special needs.
  • When your child is learning to count and read numbers, have him help pick up and count out items and put them in the grocery cart, or count out the number of crackers or pieces of fruit into a bowl for a snack.
  • When your child is learning alphabet sounds and letters, have her gather items and toys from around the house that begin with a certain letter and put them in a large zip lock bag. Hang the bag with a magnet on the refrigerator or put up with a clothespin and review the letter-specific objects.

While independence in children can be fostered as they are given plenty of opportunities to demonstrate their abilities, it is most important that they are participants in healthy relationships. Don’t forget to use common sense when deciding how much freedom and responsibility they should be given. Dr. Cheifetz cautions about what she refers to as “pseudo-independence.” She says that “Parents shouldn’t feel they have to follow an exact list of rules in order ensure independence in their children. Independence has to come from a place of feeling so incredibly secure that children can go out into the world without feeling they are going to lose you.”

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