I’m often asked by parents how to develop responsibility in children. The answer is simple – give responsibility to them! Let them feed the family pet, empty the dishwasher, clean up their toys once they have finished with them. Most children rise to the challenge when it is given sincerely, and supported by realistic expectations. Often, we tend to give responsibility to the children who don’t need it; the easy children. But we often ignore giving responsibility to the children who would benefit from giving them some trust – the difficult child, those that require following up, or some extra parental work. Here are 5 practical ways to promote a sense of responsibility in your children.
- Start Early – Children as young as 3 are keen to take some responsibility but we often tell them ‘ You can help when you’re older’. Help your children to learn to help them selves and others; rather than doing it all for them.
- Make sure that the responsibility you give them is real; setting the table, making beds, tidying rooms etc are jobs that have meaning to them.
- If a child forgets then make sure that no one else does the task. If a child doesn’t empty the dishwasher, then it is still there when they get home form school. This makes them ‘responsible’ for completing that task.
- With the child, make a help and responsibility charting remind the child to check and see what needs to be done.
- Many parents call this type of responsibility ‘jobs’ or ‘chores’. I prefer to call it ‘help’ as this reflects what its all about.