Me in a Tree

Posts Tagged ‘responsibility’


All parents struggle with setting rules, expectations, setting boundariesand consequences that their children will adhere to. There are many reasons why children don’t follow rules, from unrealistic expectations, being physically tired, rules and expectations being made out of aggression, to not adhering to the rules yourself. If the task seems impossible or they perceive the parent as being too aggressive, the child is more likely to outright ignore the rules and expectations; however, there are ways parents can combat this.

The first thing, and the most important, is to know that when parents set rules, expectations, and consequences, it is up to them to model the behaviour. Children learn by action first, and if they see their parents not abiding by the rules or enduring the consequences of breaking the rules, the child is more likely to think that the parent is not being serious with expectations and consequences.

Establish firm boundaries and limits. Parents might need to tell their child multiple times what is expected, acceptable, and what the consequences are for stepping outside those limits are. However, children will learn what is appropriate behaviour, and will learn to respect those boundaries.

Set reasonable consequences. Children often respond to task-orientated consequences. For instance, if a son did not clean up his room like he was expected to, the parent may elect to relinquish television privileges until he cleans his room.

Don’t risk too little, rave too early, or rescue too quickly. It may take time, but setting realistic expectations and reasonable consequences, children will learn to not only respect the boundaries and limits, but also the parents.

3 Mistakes We Make Leading Kids
How to Give Kids Consequences That Work



Chores can seem more like a pumpkin after the clock strikes 12 than a decked out carriage, but we have put together a list of ways to supercharge your daily tasks so that your day ends in fairy tale-like bliss with your family.

1. Automate what you can. From phone charges to mortgage payments, there are plenty of everyday tasks like paying bills that you can automate. By setting up an automatic withdrawal system, you save time writing out cheques and endless trips to the bank.

2. Batch it up. Accomplishing things like cooking in batches frees up time to spend with the people you love. For instance, try cooking or baking in bulk on the weekend to free up the time it takes to cook during the week. You might want to try using a scheduling system like Me in a Tree’s calendar to designate certain days for cooking, shopping, cleaning, etc.

3. The most important tip is to enlist help. Whether you call your mom to change diapers or ask your children to help fold laundry, the power of cooperation and working together will fast-track your task-list. Schedule one day of the week to get all the chores done, and on that day, assemble your task-force (i.e. your children and partner), and kick some chore butt.

However you decide to accomplish your daily chores, set up a schedule, set reminders, and stick to them. Before the day is out and your children are slumbering in their dreamy worlds, you will have stolen a few moments of deserved family time.


As your children grow older, their development becomes more sophisticated, Teaching New Skillsand they learn new many important skills, from technical to social skills. And, you are the first teacher your child will have.

One of the best ways to effectively teach new skills is to model the skills yourself, and your child will automatically imitate your behaviour. For example, if you want to teach the skill or the value of being polite, start by speaking politely to each other. Encourage your child to speak politely, and then praise him or her when they do.

Teaching your child anything can be daunting and difficult, but employ these tips to help you demonstrate necessary skills to your child:

Get rid of distractions: when teaching a skill, focus on only that. Turn off the television, put away the phone, and concentrate on building the skill with your child.
Model the skill first. Children model their behaviour more after what you do, rather than what you say.
Help your child. They won’t get it right away, but with patience and careful assistance, they will master a new skill in no time.
Offer praise. When your child demonstrates the skill without being assisted, have a celebration.

The key thing to remember is to be mindful of your actions. For instance, if you are teaching your child the importance of being polite, but you do not exercise politeness in your own life, your child will assume that you aren’t serious, and will imitate your rude behaviours.


Sometimes, it is difficult to keep tabs on everything going on around you. Pick Up Your Socks by Elizabeth CraryYou have people to meet, things to do, and places to be. This can feel overwhelming, and you might forget something every once in a while. Your children can experience this, too. As children grow older, there are more things that they need to remember, and some children have innate difficulties recalling basic things like daily tasks or homework. However, there are ways that you can help your children remember their responsibilities.

Elizabeth Crary offers some helpful tips in her book, Pick Up Your Socks . . . and Other Skills Growing Children Need!

Pick a key word. If your child is having trouble remembering to brush his teeth in the morning, choose a word that will represent the task, such as “teeth”.
Choose a helper. This is something that you will notice or remember about the task.
Make an association. Form some sort of connection – however silly – between the key word and the helper.
Practice. The more your child does a task, the more automatic it will become. Also, you can encourage your child to imagine himself doing the task, and he will be more likely to do it.
Bonus tip: praise your child. Positive reinforcement will encourage the recall of a particular task.


When you have laundry to do, meals to cook, kids to clean, counters to dress delegate– wait, that’s not right. Well, mom, you’re busy – you know it, your children know it, and your partner knows it. Don’t be afraid to voice this fact. In fact, you might need a lesson in the art of delegation. It’s a tricky craft to master, but giving your partner or children things to do around the house will not only make your day easier, but maybe even encourage teamwork. Here are a few tips on how to practice delegation.

•    Make a list: write down everything that needs to be done that day. If your children are at school and partner is at work, determine which tasks on your list are essential and stick to those things. The other tasks can get done on the weekend when the family is together and everyone can pitch in.
•    Allow time for interruptions: if your children are prone to needing something every five minutes, build that into your daily schedule.
•    Fun, fun, fun: make your tasks enjoyable by inventing a dusting dance or a laundry limbo.
•    Create teachable moments: getting your children involved in your tasks will teach them responsibility, discipline, and reaching their full potential.

These are but few simple tips to take your workload from overwhelming to “I can do it”. Remember that you are not alone, and it is okay to ask your children or partner for help with your tasks. You can’t be supermom – you can try, though.

Check out,  an online, interactive resource that gives parents and kids tools, activities and games to build a stronger family.


Cooperation is defined as working together for a common purpose or benefit. Me in a TreeIt can be hard to get children to cooperate effectively, but if you show them the benefits of working together, it will not only contribute to a happier home, but to your child’s development, too.

The most obvious benefit of working together includes the idea that when you work together to accomplish a task, you have more time available to do something fun. Tell your child that they have to help pick up their toys before they can go outside and play.

Also, by cooperating children will learn how to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and interests, and they become more self-aware by working with classmates, friends, parents, or siblings. Self-awareness is a critical skill to develop to grow in self-confidence and positive self-esteem.

Children also learn social awareness and relationship skills through cooperation. Learning how other people work to accomplish tasks helps children appreciate the similarities and differences in others. This can lend to the formation of positive relationships with peers and family members.

Cooperation can also be fun! You can make a game out of your tasks. For instance, create a game of throwing the socks into the sock drawer. If they score, give the child a point which can be used for a “fun day” later when your child has accumulated enough points. Make sure to tell your child that if they miss, they still need to put the socks where they belong – in the sock drawer.

Teaching cooperation can be as easy as making something together or weeding the garden. Children will benefit greatly from learning teamwork through cooperation.

Edutopia: Common Ground


Being a mother is about falling in love with a child whom you’ve never met. About falling more deeply in love the second you set eyes upon their tiny face. Realizing at that very moment their vulnerability and your lioness instinct to protect. It’s about the need to be with them every waking and sleeping moment. The desire to be part of every new experience, accomplishment and adventure. The yearning to protect them from every fall, hurt and unkind word. Being a mother is about unconditional love, knowing your child is not perfect, but loving them for who they are, who they want to be and who they turn out to be. It’s about guiding, nurturing and teaching. Celebrating the successes no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to others. Having expectations for your child to rise up to and encouraging the baby steps because that is what your child can do today. Being a mother is about giving a part of yourself like you’ve never given before. About the amazingly huge amount of love, fear, pride, hope, respect, anger, responsibility and so much more. It’s about always having room for more. For one more day, one more month, one more year…… one more child. Being a mother is about having enough room in your heart for the overwhelming love you have for one tiny person that has just been placed in your arms.

Happy Mother’s Day!


“Children’s behavior, has it changed in the last thirty years?”, was the question thrown at me. Well, for me that is a tough question to answer as thirty years ago, I was still a kid myself……well, sort of. Without fully divulging my current age, I will admit to not being a full fledged adult yet. Nor was I a parent, so I probably wasn’t paying particularly close attention to “children’s behavior”.

What do I do?

However, from my perspective at the time, there were definitely certain expectations of children and if those expectations weren’t met there were consequences. Respect was of the utmost importance, we were to respect our elders and our peers. Children did not talk back and bad language was most definitely NOT tolerated. Excuse me and thank you were to be used at all times and family dinner was not optional. Basically we minded our P’s & Q’s (still not sure what that means other than, we darn well behaved ourselves or we would suffer). As an adult and parent in the year 2011 I now pay far more attention to children’s behavior and have to admit, I’m shocked more often than not with what children are allowed to get away with.


American teen Abby Sunderland’s dramatic end to her attempt to sail solo around the world has many people accusing her parents of irresponsibility. Although the elder Sunderlands told the Los Angeles Times that danger is everywhere, it’s a fact that many of us would never allow our children on the high seas alone. But whether we agree with the Sunderland’s decision or not, we have to admit that 16-year-old Abby has responsibility down pat. What can we learn from the Sunderland family that might help us raise the same kind of super-responsible kid?

I don’t know Abby Sunderland or her family. But we can use what we do know to deduce a few things that may have contributed to this young woman’s ability to be responsible.
Here are some things I plan to keep in mind for my kids: