As infants and toddlers, much of our kids’ needs are taken care of solely by us (the parents). We wash their clothes and dishes. We clean their messes. And we even clean their rooms. But as they grow up, the need to teach children responsibility grows. After all, it’s our goal to raise confident, independent members of society.
And while we understand that teaching kids to take responsibility is a necessity, the problem for many parents is simple; it’s often much easier just to do it ourselves.
Maintaining the patience to teach children responsibility is never easy, but it’s a necessary step in helping them develop independence.
To help you with that, let’s take a look at a few helpful tips for teaching kids responsibility.
1Help Your Children Develop a Growth Mindset
According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, two basic mindsets shape our lives:
● Fixed Mindset
● Growth Mindset
People with a fixed mindset believe that their traits (such as their character, intelligence, creative ability, etc.) are essentially “fixed” at birth and cannot be changed.
People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believe that their traits can be improved upon by persisting and learning through failure.
Developing a growth mindset in your children is crucial as you work towards teaching them responsibility.
Because while you may think things, like doing laundry, washing dishes, or even feeding the dog, are obvious and self-explanatory, they often aren’t for your kids that have never done them before.
When teaching your children to perform these activities (or chores), be patient.
Whether they put the dryer on the wrong setting, use the wrong fluid in the dishwasher, or give the dog cat food, do your best to remain calm and patient as they learn the ropes.
Teaching them that they’re allowed to mess up and learn from their mistakes is just as, and probably even more, important than actually showing them how to perform each chore.
2Utilize Teaching Kids Responsibility Activities
A great way to get your kids on track to learning how to be independent is by utilizing teaching kids responsibility activities.
One way to start this is by performing chores at the same time as your children.
For example, in our home, we take an hour every Sunday to clean up the house. We break it down like this:
● Mom – In charge of cleaning our bedroom
● Dad – In charge of cleaning the dining room
● Son – In charge of cleaning his room
● Daughter – In charge of cleaning her room
Everyone cleans at the same time, so the kids understand that it’s a shared family responsibility.
From here, as the children get older, we’re able to branch out to giving them specific nights to do the dishes, days to do their laundry, etc.
3Take it Slow
As your children grow up, their ability to perform different household chores increases.
But this doesn’t mean that you should merely add 4-5 more chores to their list as soon as they turn a year older.
A much more productive approach, especially when it comes to getting your child to perform tasks regularly without fussing, is to take it slow.
For example, when your infant becomes a toddler, you can start teaching them responsibility by having them put their toys away. A month or so later, you can progress to having them carry their dishes to the counter after eating.
Once they become preschoolers, you can progress this further by having them set the kitchen table for dinner. A few months after that, they can take over the responsibility of feeding a pet.
And this goes on and on. The important thing here is that you’re giving them an opportunity to establish mastery with one chore before moving on to the next.
This will allow them to focus and learn, as opposed to becoming overwhelmed and frustrated.
4Be Careful With Allowances
Giving kids an allowance for completing weekly chores has been a long accepted practice in households around the world.
But, in many ways, it could end up coming back to bite you. There are a few reasons for this:
● They develop an expectation of receiving a reward for chores that they’ll have to do on their own in the future
● They may only be motivated to do tasks when money is involved
● Their motivation for completing chores may evaporate when they don’t need the money
This isn’t to say that giving your children an allowance is wrong or harmful. After all, when done right, it can be an excellent tool for teaching financial responsibility.
But using it as a reward for chores, which they’ll need to do in the future on their own without an allowance, can condition them to expect money for completing necessary life tasks.
With the tips above, you have all the ammunition you need to begin teaching your children responsibility.
And while raising an independent child won’t be easy (and will require plenty of patience), it will be well worth it in the end.