At Parenting Power, we believe that the expectations that we set for our kids in the home are the ones that they will take out into the larger communities. Since children learn what they live, our job as parents is to be sure that we are modelling, teaching and living the values that we believe are important.
So what does that look like on a daily basis?
That depends on your family. Let’s say that you want your kids to take responsibility for keeping the community clean and safe. That begins at home. If there is litter, we pick it up. We create expectations for our kids to be involved in taking dishes to the dishwasher, cleaning the table, putting garbage in the garbage can, etc.
Once that becomes the norm, we take it out into the community. Perhaps we are picking up litter on a walk or tidying up the chairs after a school performance. When we model and expect responsibility from our children, they learn what they live.
Connection with community, whether it is family, neighbourhood, school or beyond is really about interdependence’sharing your strengths with those who need them and asking for help when you have an area of weakness. This is how we build relationships. This can be a great discussion topic for a family dinner or a car ride, or the holidays. You might ask, ‘What strengths do we have that we can share with our neighbours, school, or team?’ This is a great way to get kids thinking about how they can contribute to the community. Perhaps you will shovel snow, do some baking, drive someone in the community or take a snack to soccer practice.
Getting kids involved in community is as easy as asking the question.
Image of collecting trash from Shutterstock