1. Start as soon as you can. – I know that you all get kids at different ages, so the best way to teach responsibility, is to do it right away. No matter how old of youth you get in your home –babies not included– you will be able to teach some form of responsibility, so the sooner you start the sooner they will start.
2. Have a Routine. – Sometimes when we get lazy we just do things as they need to be done, but this doesn’t teach responsibility very well. When you have a routine that your children can follow every single day, they will know what to expect and they will be able to get in the habit of doing things like chores every day. One thing that we just started doing with our foster kids (and our own) are chore jars. Each child has their own jar with it’s own color. Every morning I put craft sticks with chores on them in each jar. When the kids get home from school, they know to look in their jar so they know what their chores are. When they get their homework and chores done from the jar, then they can use their free time to have fun. I know that when we don’t have a consistent routine, most of the responsibility falls on me.
3. Be a good Role Model. – Every day your kids are watching what you do. How does Mom do that? Does Dad hang up his jacket after work? They will be much more likely to do things around the house if you and your spouse are doing them too. What do you do after you are finished eating dinner? If you want your kids to clear their plates and load them in the dishwasher, you need to be willing to do the same thing. So many times I find myself being a hypocrite and asking the kids to not leave their shoes laying around the house, but next thing I notice, is that mine are doing just that. Make sure you role model things that you want your kids to be doing.
4. Use Praise. – Praise is something that no human being could live without. We all seek for approval for things that we do. When you praise your child for something that you want them to do, they are much more likely to do that thing again in the future. Praise is super important and can be big or small. Sometimes all you want is a smile, or pat on the back for something that you feel you’ve done right. It makes you feel good inside. If you want to read a very good article on using Praise the right way Click Here.
5. Use Consequences. – When children begin to realize that there are consequences for their behavior, good and bad, then they can associate good consequences with being responsible and negative consequences with being irresponsible. Depending on the different age of kids you have in your home this will look very different. With our young children that we have in our home now, we use a coloring sheet where each child gets to color in raindrops for working on specific things throughout the day, and they have to cross out raindrops when doing things we want to discourage them from doing. If you have teenagers, natural consequences work very nicely. For example, if your teenage son comes home late from hanging out with his friends, a natural consequence could be that the next time he hangs out, he will have to come home 10 minutes early for every minute he was late. Just make this fit your situation.
These are just a few ways to work on teaching responsibility to your foster children (and your own) in your home. Let us know some of the ways you are helping teach your foster youth responsibility in your own homes by leaving us a comment below. Also feel free to contact us if you ever need some suggestions. We are happy to help.