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Teach Children Work and Responsibility

Posted Oct 01 2008 10:39pm

I was at a conference last Sunday and found myself running a mini nursery for kids at the back of the hall. You see, I knew my kids would get restless at some point and I had brought blocks for them to play. Slowly other toddlers toddled their way over to seek refuge from their boredom. Anyway, there was this girl who is a few months younger then Damus (should be 2yrs. old already) and she was eating some bread. The next thing I knew, the bread was on the floor and she was no where in sight. Quickly I located her and told her to pick it up. Obediently she did. I asked her brother to bring her to the dustbin. But instead, this little girl just handed the bread to the brother, told the brother to throw it (in baby talk) and walked off.
Here were the thoughts that ran through my head:

  1. Wow, you sure know how to make use of your brothers.
  2. Being the youngest of 4 AND the only girl, you are probably the princess in the house (this was later confirmed by the father.)
  3. You probably have not been given much chance to learn the value of work or responsibility. Your parents are headed for trouble.

Values such as work and responsibility must be cultivated from a young age. My kids know that when they make a mess, they clean it up. Yes, even little Damus. The job may not be done perfectly, but at least they are given the chance to learn and do. I find many times adults are too quick to jump in and deprive the child from learning such values. For example, Damus had spilled something in the kitchen. I asked him to clean it up but MIL jumped in and said, he's too young to know how to clean up. In my heart I screamed, HE IS NOT. The sad part is she didn't even give him a chance. What she didn't know was that he was already a pro at cleaning (he's had plenty of accidents to practise).

Have you noticed that when kids are at the age deemed "too young", that is when they are most willing to work? This is the time they learn the best and yet, this is the time most parents deprive them of such learning. ABCs and 123s should not be their only lessons.

Things you can teach your toddler:

  • Put back your toys.
  • Throw rubbish in the dustbin.
  • Don't leave things on the floor.
  • Put things back where you got them from.
  • You mess, you clean e.g. wipe up spilled drinks, sweep up food dropped on the floor (of course Mom will follow up later)
  • After eating, bowls and cups go in the sink.
  • Take your dirty clothes to the laundry basket.
  • If you need to spit out food, go to the dustbin.
  • You lose something, you look for it.

So parents, (especially those with toddlers) teach work and responsibility today. Give your kids a chance to learn and grow. Make it part of their life before they decide they don't want it to be. Yes, it's a well known fact that as kids grow older, they realize work is not that fun anymore. So don't just get caught up in the academics (e.g. wah, my kid can read at 2 but don't know what to do when food drops on the floor). Decide today to give them the greater gift.


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