Blog Article

Seven Tips to Encourage Responsibility in Grandchildren

Written by Becky Danielson from Faith First Parent

Raising children to be responsible adults is an ongoing task for families. Grandparents have a unique opportunity to speak truth into the lives of grandchildren as well as hold them accountable for being responsible for themselves.

Modeling trustworthiness, expecting the best, and providing routines and age-appropriate opportunities for kids are all part of encouraging grandchildren to be responsible adults.

Try these seven strategies to guide your grandchildren to be responsible and respectful.

1. Be a good role model.

Be trustworthy, honest, reliable, and accountable as a grandparent. Children do as they see more often than what they are told. Use kind words, gestures, and interactions with not only your grandchildren but their parents and others.

Stand behind what you say to be worthy of your grandchild’s trust. Model your trust in God. “And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9:10)

2. Have clear, appropriate expectations.

Expect your grandkids to do their best. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23 ESV).

Doing one’s best is an expectation to set early in life. Children live up or down according to the expectations of the adults in their lives. Set reasonable expectations by considering the developmental age and stage of each child.

Clearly state your expectations for the grandchildren. This includes house rules at your home that may be different than their own home. Boundaries and expectations are good for children of all ages. Following the rules at grandma and grandpa’s is good practice for other situations the child will encounter at school, a friend’s home, and other settings where the rules may differ.

3. Provide routines.

If you’re caring for your grandkids for a short time or are the primary caregivers, keep in mind being prepared is a part of being responsible. Become a “night before” family. Have grandkids get ready for the next day by packing their backpacks with completed homework, gym shoes, books, show-and-tell items, school projects, signed permission slips, or anything else needed for the next day of school. Do the same for activity and sports bags.

Sticking to established bedtimes and routines to get prepared for bed is especially important for younger grandchildren. Children benefit from similar routines they’ve learned at home. This is also a good way to respect the routines and rules your child and his/her spouse have set for the grandchildren.

4. Offer opportunities.

Give grandchildren many chances to be responsible. Taking care of everything from their own possessions to library books helps train kids to be responsible. Cleaning one’s own room alone or with roommates is a wise expectation. Caring for the family pet, with supervision, is another great way to encourage kids to be responsible.

Give kids appropriate chores too. Allow your grandchildren to help with jobs around the house, even when it’s faster to take care of the chore yourself!

5. Give children choices.

Guide grandchildren in making wise choices. As kids mature, the stakes are higher. Allow grandkids to make decisions and experience the consequences of poor decisions when they are young. Good decision-making skills are life-long skills.

6. Allow for failure.

Valuable lessons are learned when kids fail, often more so than when they succeed. It’s sometimes difficult for grandparents to stand back rather than solve a grandchild’s problem. Instead of solutions to problems, offer assistance. Asking “How can I help you?” or “What do you need?” gives a child a chance to think rather than an easy out when an adult takes over. There are consequences for irresponsible behavior. Giving children opportunities to fix their own mistakes instills a “can-do” attitude.

After failing at a task or activity, encourage grandkids to be brave and try again. Cheer kids on through difficulties. Knowing a trusted adult has confidence in a child’s capabilities can infuse self-confidence. Sharing a time when you’ve failed or made a mistake normalizes feelings of failure.

7. Praise responsible behavior.

Catch your grandchildren being good! Notice when they are responsible for themselves and their possessions. Praise grandchildren for being responsible and respectful in both words and actions.

Conclusion

“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3).

Grandchildren, precious gifts from God, need to be nurtured, guided, and taught to be responsible, reliable, and respectful. Walk alongside your grandchildren to give them the skills necessary to be successful in the life the Lord has planned for each one of them.


Becky Danielson, M.Ed., is a Christian, wife, mother, and licensed parent & family educator. She had the gift of a grandmother who influenced her life tremendously.

Becky is the co-author of Faithful Grandparenting: Practical Ideas for Connecting the Generations. She blogs for parents and grandparents at FaithFirstParent.com.

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