Est. 2011

August 4, 2020

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Life with Littles | Teaching Responsibility

Girl drying her baby sister after bath time

Sponsor Note: Although this post was sponsored by Honest, all content, words, and ideas are my own. Thanks for supporting the partnerships that help keep this blog running.

I was recently interviewed on a podcast and we spoke all about homeschooling. Naturally, we touched on kids and responsibility and how I approach the topic. I can’t wait to share the podcast with you; it’ll be out in a few weeks. For now, I’m going to dive a little deeper into the subject of teaching responsibility! Thanks to Honest and Costco for sponsoring this chat!

Baby having a bath in a farmhouse sink

Zoe, our oldest, has always been incredibly eager to do ALL.THE.THINGS. For several months now, she’s been asking to help with the baby’s bath time. At first, I was hesitant to allow her to. But Zoe’s been watching us bathe the other children for years now, and after teaching her a few basics, I recently began allowing her to wash her little sister – completely by herself – with close oversight by me. Bath time, as part of Aletheia’s bedtime routine, is such a precious time of day, of slowing down, and of being present. Seeing Zoe carefully and lovingly help with this responsibility – like a little mommy – is so beautiful and rewarding. We’re always careful with what products we use at bath time, and I’m so happy we found The Honest Company’s Truly Calming Shampoo + Body Wash at Costco.com. These products are safe for babies (and perfectly gentle for baby’s skin), and sometimes even the whole family uses them!

Baby having a bath in a farmhouse sink reaching for body wash
Girl giving her baby sister a bath in a sink

Allowing our children to help care for their younger siblings is one way that we’ve given them extra responsibility. My husband and I were talking about this a few weeks ago, and we came to the conclusion that children thrive on extra responsibility. By responsibility we don’t necessarily mean extra, superfluous, or overwhelming chores. With responsibility, we mean trusting them with little tasks that may go beyond their capabilities. Taking the time to teach and train them to help in ways that make them feel trustworthy and able of contributing in a meaningful way. Children observe everything we do, and many times they are able to replicate our actions with very little teaching or training. Other times – like teaching a child how to use a sharp knife – it takes more hands-on instruction before they can be trusted.

Baby having a bath in a farmhouse sink

Zoe, our oldest, turned 7 years old in June. She thrives and shines when she’s given a task that is slightly beyond her ability, but she is 100% able to figure it out, learn in the process, and complete the job. It’s incredible to witness! She absolutely LOVES taking the baby (who’s 12 months old) into their bedroom and “babysitting” her for a while. Or reading to Jojo (who’s 2 years old) on the couch in the living room, while Joe and I are occupied.

Girl giving her baby sister a bath in a sink

If you have a six-year-old, a few examples of extra responsibility may be: 1) setting the table with real dishes; 2) arranging flowers for a centerpiece; 3) picking vegetables – by themselves – from the garden for a meal; 4) making breakfast for siblings; 5) planting seeds in the garden; 6) helping with the bedtime routine and bath time; 7) reading bedtime stories.

Of course, sometimes it takes time and patience to teach responsibility to our children, because frequently, we could complete the task quicker, with less mess, with less expenditure of patience, etc. etc. etc. But life is much more wonderful if we’re able to take the time to slow down and give our children more responsibilities, in a cautious and observant way, being ready to step in if they need assistance or correction. How have you navigated this area of giving your children extra responsibility?

Baby having a bath in a farmhouse sink
teaching responsibility to children
teaching responsibility to children

Sponsor Note: Although this post was sponsored by Honest and Costco, all content, words, and ideas are my own. Thanks for supporting the partnerships that help keep this blog running.

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