Tips to Help Teach Responsibility

The most effective way of teaching children responsibility is to start them off at an early age. This can be done gradually through small changes in their routine that will give them a sense of pride and accomplishment. As your children demonstrates their newfound responsibility, they will want to continue to receive positive feedback, and in time they will have learned how to be responsible.

Let them help you:

When it's time to do housework, invite your child to help you.  It may take you longer to complete the task, but it helps your child take pride and ownership of their home and in turn, will help them want to maintain it.

Make tasks age appropriate:

Asking a small child to clean their room is probably going to be overwhelming for them.  Instead, start small.  Place a hamper in the child's room and show him where the dirty laundry goes or ask him specifically to put the blocks back in the bin when he's done playing with them.  As a child grows, tasks can become more involved.

Manage your expectations:

Learning new tasks takes time and practice.  If your child sets the table but the silverware is all wrong, don't critisize.  Instead, recognize a job well done and next time show her how you do it.

Don't reward:

Responsibilities are what's expected of us.  While there's a time and place for rewards, for example when a child goes above and beyond, being responsible shouldn't be it.  

Consequences

Make your children take responsibility for their actions. If they don’t feel like doing their homework or they constantly lose things, don’t help them. Teach them that there are consequences for what they do, and if they lose things, make them pay for them on their own. If they don’t do their homework, they will find out that there are consequences to slacking off.

Other ideas that will teach responsibility:

  • Give your children an allowance so that they can be responsible for their own money and learn the joy of saving responsibly for things that they would like.
  • Talk about responsibility and ask questions. Offer your children opportunities to problem solve where there will be noticeable consequences and a contrast between good and bad.

As always, remember that one of the key ways to teach your children responsibility is to model it yourself.  Your children are always watching and learning from you, and if you act with responsibility, they will see this and naturally emulate it.

From Care.com.