How do you teach a 3 year old about Responsibility? I have never really thought about it, if I’m honest. Doesn’t it just come naturally?
The week before last was O’s first week back at pre-school and one day he was asked if Billy the Bear could come for a sleepover. It would be O’s responsibility to look after Billy and so the poor bear was sent packing with his bag to the Mental Parentals house. O was really excited at the prospect of having to look after Billy the Bear and strapped him into the car with a huge grin on his face!
Daddy, O and Billy had to take a trip to the supermarket to pick up a couple of things for tea. O held Billy’s hand and carried the basket around the supermarket. He loved this! It made him feel so grown-up – and we all know 3 year old’s crave their independence! Billy helped O to scan the groceries through the self-service and carry them out to the car.
When they got home, we unpacked Billy’s bag – O needed to know that Billy had everything he needed for a sleepover! Billy’s bag contained a guidance sheet for parents, Billy’s diary, his pyjama’s and toothbrush. O helped Billy to eat some Macaroni Cheese with broccoli and sweetcorn and then took him up to bed. He had a “bath” in the sink – minus the water, although Billy could’ve done with a run through the washing machine(!) – whilst O was in the bath and they both brushed their teeth. O tried to put toothpaste on Billy’s toothbrush, so trying to explain why he couldn’t was quite difficult! How does “it’s only pretend” ring true with teaching responsibility?!
O needed a little help getting Billy’s pyjamas on and we tucked him up into a little ‘bear bed’ that I had made up on the floor next to O’s bed using a spare blanket and throw cushion. O loved tucking him into his own little bed; I just didn’t want teddy number 8 in his…
O really enjoyed having Billy the Bear to stay, and I do think it helped him to learn some amount of responsibility with regard to looking after someone else. It rather reminded me of the doll we were sent home with in Year 8 of Secondary School for our P, S, H & E class to put us off having unprotected sex. I’m not sure how much of an effect this will have on O now having experienced this… if any to be honest!