Inside: An important life lesson in respect for others is in being reliable. Teach reliability to kids so they can be great friends and good leaders.
You’ve waited weeks for a night out with your gal pals. Or, if you’re like most moms, you can’t plan ahead that far, but you’ve had a ladies’ night out planned all week. Suddenly, you’re receiving messages from your friends canceling for various reasons.
Whether it’s the first night out you’ve planned or the 10th, there’s nothing worse than having your plans go awry. Even if it’s just one friend canceling on you that you’ve been dying to catch up with, you’ve been let down. You’ve been counting on this for however long and things aren’t going according to plan.
The more these things happen, the more hurtful it is. That’s just one of the many reasons we need to teach our children about being reliable.
Reliability isn’t an innately natural part of everyone’s life, but it’s an important life lesson to teach our children. If you think about your most reliable friends, you probably have good memories and find them to be the easiest to get along with. Good leaders and people we really look up to are those who are reliable.
Alternatively, being in a friendship or relationship with someone who isn’t reliable is frustrating. Unreliable people confuse and inconvenience others in their lives for the sake of convenience for themselves.
Teaching your children to be reliable will help them to be known by their behavior. Eventually, their reliability results in building their trustworthiness. Your hope is that they become a pillar in their community.
Here are a few points to work on to help strengthen your child’s reliability.
How To Teach Reliability to Kids
Teaching reliability to kids will take some time and energy. It’s important to be a good role model in everything you want your children to learn, so being a reliable friend or coworker will go a long way in teaching your kids how to be reliable.
But, reliability isn’t a simple lesson. Here are 4 things about reliability kids need to know to succeed!
Reliability Takes Effort
It’s okay to remind your child that being reliable isn’t easy.
Recognize that it’s our human nature to want to do what’s convenient and requires the least amount of effort on our part. This recognition will help you both to be on guard for these natural reactions and mindfully push them aside.
Make the effort to think ahead, so you’re not caught in a situation where you feel powerless because of lack of planning.
To teach this to your child, it’s best to display your own efforts and planning. When you make commitments or plans with someone, put it on your calendar. When the date approaches, follow through with your commitment!
If you suddenly find yourself not feeling up to it, it’s okay to voice this with your child. Then, follow up with “but I’m going because I said I would be there.”
Talk with your child about these feelings to help them to understand the amount of effort reliability takes. If your child is old enough to make up his/her own plans, allow them to talk to you about their feelings freely. Remind your child it’s important to others that they can rely on him/her.
Speaking of reliability and effort …
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Reliability Takes Discipline
Self-discipline is required in order to become a reliable person. Honoring your commitments takes planning and structure.
Help your child by creating a normal routine. Your school day routines are perfect exercises in self-discipline and reliability. Talking to your child about streamlining their morning routine is a good way to start. Help them learn to choose their clothes the night before. Let them plan breakfast and set up things they need before going to bed. And, have them set their alarm clock with sufficient time to get ready for the day.
By having them actively take part in the structure of their day, it makes them more responsible and helps build their reliability. If they can’t be responsible for themselves, how can others rely on them?
Reliability Takes Practice
It shouldn’t be expected that they totally nail reliability. While you want your child to aim for the stars, remind them that no one is perfect if they mess up.
Sure, they may “fail” a friend here and there. It’s called being human, but remind them that they have to keep trying. Depending on their age, offering rewards for improvements may help.
With older children, you may be able to discuss with them the reward of making their friend or a family member happy when they follow through with their commitments.
Reliability Takes Determination
It’s easy to give up and let things slide, isn’t it? For kids, it can be a strong instinct!
Being reliable takes determination and it’s important to remind your child that it’s a quality worth striving for.
Reliability is sorely lacking in our world today. Many people fall into the habit of keeping life convenient for themselves and often forget about their importance to others in the process.
By teaching our children to be reliable when it comes to their availability and their promises, we will create the great leaders of tomorrow. When we teach reliability to kids, we give them the tools necessary to build successful friendships.
Did you like these tips on how to teach reliability to kids? Check out more childhood lessons here.
This post was originally published Oct 16, 2017 and has been updated slightly June 27, 2020.