If you want to know how to teach kids responsibility, but aren’t sure to go about it, you aren’t alone!
When I first considered the idea of assigning my daughter age-appropriate chores, I was a bit apprehensive. I envisioned myself nagging and reminding her to complete her responsibilities multiple times a day, resulting in power struggles that would leave the 2 of us frustrated and irritable. This was the experience I had with my own mother when I was growing up, but the more I researched how to teach kids responsibility, the more I realized that fostering independence in my child could actually strengthen my bond with her if I did it the right way. I just needed to figure out how to approach it, and ensure my expectations were realistic.
Through lots of research and trial and error, I’ve learned that when we empower our kids and give them more accountability around the house, we’re doing much more than just teaching them important life skills. We’re also showing them that we trust them, and that they are an important and contributing part of the family, which can have a tremendous impact on their self-confidence and feelings of self-worth.
Teaching kids responsibility also provides an opportunity to do things TOGETHER, which can help strengthen your relationship with your child. If you’re trying to figure out how to teach kids responsibility, here are 9 tips to get you started!
How to Teach Kids Responsibility
1. START YOUNG
If you want to know how to teach kids responsibility, but aren’t sure WHEN you should start assigning chores to your kids, there is no right or wrong answer. Most people start their kids off with basic chores at the age of two, but you will obviously need to make a decision based on your child’s individual abilities. Start slow and ensure you are choosing chores that are realistic for your child, and then build from there. Keeping things manageable will ensure your child stays interested and engaged.
2. MAKE SURE IT’S AGE APPROPRIATE
Before you start soliciting help from your kids around the house, make sure you take some time to brainstorm tasks that are appropriate for their age so you aren’t overwhelming them. There are heaps of different online resources you can refer to when trying to identify age-appropriate chores, but my biggest advice is to choose tasks your kids enjoy doing so they look forward to pitching in. Try to find a mix of things they can do independently, and chores you can do together so they get the benefit of learning to be self-sufficient while still having an opportunity to spend a little quality time with you.
If you’re looking for examples of household chores for different age groups, this is a great resource.
3. BE REALISTIC
While it would be great if our children could perform all of their household chores on their own, this probably isn’t a realistic expectation, particularly with younger kids. If you’re trying to figure out how to teach kids responsibility, remember that this is going to be a process. Your initial goal is to set out clear expectations for them, and to teach them the skills they need to meet those goals and remain committed and accountable.
It’s also important to keep in mind that your child isn’t you. No matter how hard you try to teach your kids to do things your way, their way will likely be different. Try to remember that different doesn’t mean wrong, and as long as your little one is trying his or her best, that’s all that matters.
4. CREATE A CHORE CHART
If your kids struggle with accountability and consistency, consider putting together a chore chart that outlines exactly what’s expected of them each day. This is a great way to get everyone on the same page, and there are heaps of great ready-made charts you can buy inexpensively on Amazon. I really love this magnetic chore chart as you can use it for multiple kids to keep everyone accountable.
5. ALLOW THEM TO MAKE MISTAKES
As a mom, I know firsthand how hard it is to allow kids to make mistakes. It’s difficult to see the look of defeat and frustration on their faces when they can’t figure something out, and sometimes it just feels easier to do things ourselves. If this sounds like you, it’s important that you resist the urge to intervene. In order for our children to grow into confident, self-sufficient adults, we need to let them take risks and persevere in the face of challenges. It may feel difficult in the short-term, but I promise you the long-term benefits will be worth it.
6. KEEP THEM MOTIVATED
If you want to know how to teach kids responsibility, it’s important that you find a way to keep your kids motivated. Verbal praise, checkmarks or stickers on a chore chart, special privileges, and small trinkets from a treasure box are all great ways to positively reinforce your child’s behavior. As long as the reinforcement is immediate, motivating, and attainable, it will serve as an effective tool in encouraging and guiding your child.
7. CONSIDER MONETARY REWARDS
Everyone seems to have their own opinion when it comes to giving their child an allowance. Some believe tying an allowance to household chores, homework, and other responsibilities provides motivation, teaches financial responsibility, and teaches kids the rewards of working hard. On the flip side, those opposed to paying children an allowance make some pretty important points: money doesn’t motivate everyone, and paying kids for chores teaches them that housework is something they should dread. Also, since we aren’t paid to clean up after ourselves as adults, some feel strongly that making an allowance contingent on household tasks is misleading. Rewarding kids for completing chores really is a personal choice and you need to do what’s right for you and your family.
8. BE CONSISTENT
This is probably a no-brainer, but if you want to know how to teach kids responsibility, remember that consistency is key. Be sure to clearly communicate your expectations, provide regular reminders, and always follow through with consequences and rewards.
9. MAKE IT FUN!
My final tip for those who want to know how to teach kids responsibility is to find ways to keep things as fun as possible. Whether you’re trying to get your kids to pitch in around the house, take accountability for their homework, or help out within the community, you will have a much easier time doing this if you keep things positive. No one wants a nagging mom who barks orders and slams around the house every Sunday afternoon while she vacuums, so if you want your children to contribute and take some responsibility, go the extra mile to make it a fun experience for them. Crank the tunes, tell jokes, and keep things light and happy. You won’t be sorry.
If you want to know how to teach responsibility to kids, I hope you found these tips and ideas helpful! Remember to start young, assign age-appropriate chores and responsibilities, and find ways to keep your little ones motivated and interested. Be clear and consistent with your expectations, and keep it fun!
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