Every parent wishes to see their children grow up to be responsible individuals. The best way to achieve this is by instilling a sense of responsibility in your child at a young age and teaching them to be responsible at home.
Tasks as simple as cleaning up after themselves, folding their clothes, or helping you with the house chores can help teach them valuable lessons and make them responsible.
Read on to know more about the importance of responsibility for kids. We also give you a few tips to help you teach your child to become a responsible individual.
Need To Teach Responsibility To Children
Teaching responsibility to children can bring about several benefits to the lives of your little ones. Here are a few reasons for instilling responsibility in your child (1) (2).
1. Helps gain trust and respect
When you teach your children responsibility, you teach them to be accountable. This means your child would accept the consequences for their words, deeds, and actions.
Being responsible helps your child gain self-respect and respect from others. When they take responsibility and complete tasks, it can give them a feeling of fulfillment and make them feel good about themselves. Also, when they complete tasks assigned to them, other people would notice them and respect them.
2. Teaches organization
While trying to meet a commitment, your child will learn to prioritize tasks. They may even learn to prepare a list over time, thus learning organization, time-management, and decision-making skills.
3. Makes them self-independent
As being responsible is not restricted to just at home, your child would learn to be a valuable member of society. Offering help to others and taking accountability for things can teach them to be self-independent and even inspire other children around them.
What Are The Duties And Responsibilities Of A Child?
Based on their age and development, here are a few duties and responsibilities you could let your child undertake (3) (4) (5). The age-wise responsibilities are not rigid but depend on how well your child can accept and adopt them in their routine. If they find a particular task difficult to do, be flexible enough to relax such duties.
Two- and three-year-olds
- Learning to put the groceries away
- Dressing with assistance
- Keeping the toys in their respective place after play
Four- and five-year-olds
- Helping put the dishes in the sink after a meal
- Arranging their play shelves and bookshelves
- Making their bed
- Feeding the pets
- Six- and seven-year-olds
Putting used clothes in the laundry basket
- Cleaning the floor
- Wiping the table after meals
- Packing their school bags the night before
- Participating in other small chores around the house
- Completing homework
Eight- and nine-year-olds
- Helping with the meals
- Packing meals for themselves
- Learning self-grooming
- Loading and unloading a dishwasher
- Stacking items appropriately
10- and 11-year-olds
- Changing the bed linings
- Cleaning the kitchen and bathroom
- Participating in small tasks such as raking the leaves or tending to the garden
- Gaining proficiency on the previously learned tasks
- Taking out the trash
12-year-olds and older
- Running errands
- Taking care of younger siblings
- Learning to budget money
- Helping in deep-cleaning of the house
How To Teach Responsibility To Children
Here are a few strategies you could use to teach responsibility to your child (6) (7).
Teach them to clean up after themselves
The first step towards teaching responsibility to your child is to let them clean up after themselves after every activity. This involves arranging the things in a disorganized room after play or wiping the spills after meals. The best way to do this is to set an example. Let them observe you clean after yourself and make it a habit gradually. You can also assist them in cleaning to make the task seem less daunting.
Encourage them to take initiative
If you force them to do a task, they may think of it as more of a punishment rather than a responsibility. Try to make the chores fun, and find a way to make them do the tasks independently to give them a sense of fulfillment and help improve their self-confidence. You could lend a helping hand only when absolutely necessary. It is alright if they do not do it perfectly, as the ultimate goal is to make them take initiative.
Teach them to help others
Teach them to help others with their tasks, no matter how small those tasks may be. You can let them help you with age-appropriate chores and gradually encourage them to help you with tasks outside of the house. For instance, they could look after the plants in the garden or feed a few strays. As they grow older, this need to help others will come naturally to them.
Help them prepare a list
This could be a written or mental list. Let them know the order of things to be followed after each task. For example, let them recollect what they must do after returning from school – whether it is putting the clothes in the laundry basket or watering the plants. You could also help them create a list of their daily chores or tasks. Ensure they complete them during the initial few days, until it becomes a habit for them.
Make time a secondary factor
Most of the tasks you teach to young children would be new to them. Therefore, they may take more time to complete each task. So, when they are on those tasks, wait for them to complete them by themselves, even if they take more time. You could also try allocating them a certain task while you finish the larger task. For instance, you could let them clean a window while you finish cleaning the rest of the house.
Teach them to repair damages
Nobody is perfect, and this applies to your child too. Everyone is bound to make mistakes. However, what is important is how they learn to repair the damages done. It may be an argument they got into with someone or a rule they’ve broken in the house. Have a gentle talk and listen to their side of the story instead of ordering them to do the right thing straight away. Help them realize their mistake and find a solution themselves, based on the situation.
Maintain a routine
Repetition helps a child remember things easily. Help them create different routines, such as bedtime routine, study routine, play routine, or morning routine (8). Make them repeat the steps under each routine every day. Once they learn what to do and when to do it, they can eventually do these tasks without your assistance.
Be a role model
Children often learn by observing their elders. So make sure that everybody in your family is a responsible person around them. Keep all the promises you’ve made with them so that they’ll learn to do the same. This also means that you should only make those promises that you can fulfill. Follow the rules of the house and the society, especially in front of them. When they see you being responsible, they will follow suit.
Maintain a no-blame policy
Sometimes, your children may not keep up with all of their tasks, or they may have a reason behind an irresponsible action. Try finding out the reason behind it rather than making them feel bad about it. Is it because they’ve forgotten about the task, or is it because they find the task daunting? Find out the reason and see what could be done to help them overcome it.
Teach them the consequences of their actions
Your child may not understand the need to be a responsible person. Explain it in a way they would understand. For instance, if they never get ready on time for school, you could explain to them that they may fall behind in class and may miss important information or that others may face inconvenience due to them.
Help them find solutions
Learning responsibilities could be a path full of challenges for a child. Thus, they may try to find escape routes. When your child faces difficulties, help them find solutions. For example, if they complain about too much homework, you can tell them to divide the work into smaller tasks. Stick by them and discuss the possible outcomes.
Let them pay for lost or damaged objects
If your child breaks something in the house, school, or neighborhood, or if they’ve lost something, make them pay for it with their pocket money. Alternatively, you can make them do some chores to compensate for it. The more they realize about the efforts that go into purchasing things, the less likely they will be irresponsible about objects.
Offer rewards for certain tasks
As children grow old, they may have to earn their pocket money by finding a job. After they’ve reached an appropriate age, start paying them for tasks that they wouldn’t normally do. You could pay them for tasks such as plowing the snow on the front yard or cleaning the house after a festival. This way, you would be preparing them for the responsibilities of the working world.
Ask them to play a role during special occasions
When given a role during a special occasion, such as Christmas, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day, they feel special, which makes them want to be more responsible. Put them in charge of choosing a present or guiding the guests towards the barbeque station. This responsibility may excite them and make them put their best foot forward.
Make them participate in extracurricular activities
It may be a sport or an art, but when your child participates in extracurricular or group activities, they have to get along with the others to have a good time. As every individual in a group has a role to play, they will be obliged to participate and play their role. When your child realizes that their efforts count and also determine the outcome of the group, they will try to be responsible.
Choose the right time
If your child constantly hears you speak about being responsible, they may lose interest even before performing a task. So, choose the time wisely. Try to avoid dropping tasks on them when they’re tired. Children tend to learn and understand better when they’re in a calm and playful mood (9). Use this opportunity to teach them instead.
If your child has completed their task, do not forget to praise, or sometimes, reward them. You could get them the toy they’ve always been asking for or praise them in front of the family. Even if the task wasn’t completed perfectly the first few times, it is alright. They are still children and have years to master the task. As long as they take the initiative by themselves, offer suitable rewards or praise them for encouraging them further.
As long as your child enjoys being responsible, nothing is an intimidating task for them. So, plug in the fun chord and get into action. Teach them responsibility at home, and they’ll learn to be responsible in different settings outside the home as well. And if you’re stuck, you could always try any of our tips mentioned in this article.