A small child wearing a green shirt

5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Responsibility

November 23, 2017

Being a parent can feel like the ultimate responsibility – raising children to be polite, well-mannered, functioning members of society who understand how and what to do is a daunting task. It’s not impossible, though. There are some wonderful ways to teach children responsibility, and you never know, you might learn something yourself along the way.

5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Responsibility

A small child

Helping Out

No one particularly enjoys housework – there is always something better to do. However, complaining about it is not going to help your kids to learn responsibility. Instead, smile, roll up your sleeves and ask your child to help you. Yes, it might make the job take double the time, but it’s also the perfect opportunity for that child to learn how to be responsible around the house.
Give them a room to clean – their own bedroom is a good start – and provide them with the tools they need (no chemical cleaning products for very young children, of course) and let them work on it. Or how about sorting the laundry? When it’s been washed and dried, it can be the little one’s job to sort it into piles to put away. Simply put: let them help you whenever you are doing something around the house, and they will learn how to be responsible.

Preparing Food

Another great way to teach your kids how to be responsible is for them to deal with their own food, from beginning to end. That means taking them to the supermarket so they can pick out their meals and the ingredients. It means teaching them how to prepare the food. It means expecting that they will tidy up after themselves. It can be hard to watch children doing something for themselves that you have been used to doing – especially if it’s proving tricky for them, or they make a mistake. However, always stepping in and taking over means your children will never learn to be responsible; they’ll always expect someone to come and sort out their messes. That’s not how it works in the real world, sadly.

A person sitting at a table in front of a mirror 


Getting a pet can be the ultimate way to teach your kids responsibility. It’s not just a simple case of buying or adopting the pet, bringing it into the home, and letting it get on with its life. Pets need to be cared for – they need to be fed, they need to be washed, they need to be taken to the vet. If they have fleas, you need to treat them with a good flea treatment like Advantage II. If they need their claws clipping or their coat groomed, you need to find a qualified groomer. They need to be trained. There is a lot to think about. Making sure your child is fully aware of what you expect them to do in regards to the pet is essential.

Don’t Reward

For many parents, rewarding their child for doing something good, for getting something right, is an inbuilt reaction. However, rewarding your child for being responsible is, the experts say, not a good idea. Keep the rewards for when your child goes above and beyond what you’ve asked them to do (or what they already know they should do). This makes them realise that day-to-day tasks are done because they need to be because that’s how the world works, rather than because they’ll get a treat at the end of it.

Teach The Consequences

It’s important that the child understands what will happen if they don’t do the task they’ve been asked to do. For example, if they are supposed to clear away their coloring pens, let them know that they won’t be able to play with anything else until the table is clear, or that they can’t watch TV until they have prepared their dinner. Whatever the consequences are that you decide to tell your kid about, make sure you follow through with them. Don’t break and tidy things away because your little one looks sad, or because they really wanted to play with something else but didn’t have the room.

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Photo Credit: Ewa Pinkonhead Kelly Sikkema Jordan Whitt

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