We often wonder how we can teach accountability to our kids. Is it too soon or is it too late now? Character building or value building starts from a young age. Children are never too young or too old to learn. The real key is consistency in doing anything. Here are 4 tips to help children learn accountability and understand what is under their control.
- Discuss about expectations, norms and beliefs – as parents we have to communicate expectation rules and beliefs to the children and these have to be discussed so the children understand their importance. Once they are consistently followed they become the family culture.
- Establish consequences – It is important explaining real life cause and effect, it helps children connect their actions with positive or negative outcome.
- Follow through – it works both ways. Parents have to be consistent, follow through and make sure that it is done.
This is an activity to help children understand what kind of behaviours or attitudes are under our control. We can control how we behave towards others, their behaviour should not control ours. For example, Being Kind even if the other person is not kind to you. This is a very simple activity:
- Draw a circle
- Inside the circle, write I CAN Control (Being kind, asking for help, taking care of myself)
- Outside the circle, write I CAN’T Control (What others say, how others behave)
- Brainstorm and list words, behaviors and attitudes your child has power over and can control
Mindfulness means purposely being present, paying attention to the person, and the tasks in front of us. Being in the present without distractions. Start with a simple exercise with your child
- Ask your child to breathe slowly, collect their thoughts and breathe out
- Stay focused on your breathing, Relax, repeat for at least 10-15 minutes
- Prompt your child to think of five things they can control in the moment (It can be a simple list like their thoughts, their actions etc)
Encouraging words are important for the children. If praise is used properly can help create powerful positive effects on children or vice versa. It is important to remember that:
- Praise should always be specific and sincere
- It should have positive impact on the child rather than negative
- Praise the act or behaviour not the child.
- Praise the child’s effort and process not their achievement or ability