Dorothy Rich, author of the bestseller MegaSkills: How Families Can Help Children Succeed in School and Beyond, sums it up in three words: doing what's right.
Teaching children responsibility, she says, "involves finding ways to help children feel competent, to know what's right and to do what's right."
Rich suggests an activity: First, make sure your family has an alarm clock that works. You'll also need one slip of paper for each member of your family.
Write "wake up" on one piece of paper. Write "wake me up" on the others. Put the papers into a bag. Have everyone draw out a slip of paper. The person who gets the slip of paper marked "wake up" will be responsible for waking the family the next day.
The "wake up" person should set the alarm clock for five minutes before wake up time. Talk about what will happen if this person doesn't follow through. Someone could be late for work or miss the bus. And talk about other situations when being late can cause a problem.
Taking turns as "wake up" person can help children practice responsibility, but the final step is learning to be responsible for getting themselves up every day. Learning to accept personal responsibility is the goal.
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