Parenting is a challenging chore for every parent, no matter your passion or commitment to giving all that you have for the best of your kids. This is because the best may not always seem like the best to your kids and you have to stay committed to what you know is good for them even when they aren’t happy about it. One of these things is teaching them responsibility. However, we have a few fun suggestions for how you might teach your kids to incorporate responsibility from a young age without them realizing that you are gradually building upon this life-essential skill.
Taking Responsibility for Yourself
Picking Up Toys and Flushing the Toilet
The first responsibility that most of us learn in life is how to take care of ourselves. This is something that you can start with your kids even before they walk or talk! You may not do this every time, but engage your kids in the tasks of taking responsibility for themselves. Pick just a few tasks while they are still under a year old, but you can incrementally add to the list as they grow older and more capable.
Here are a few ideas:
- Picking up toys
- Make their beds
- Brush their teeth
- Putting dirty clothes in the hamper
- Learning to fold and put away clean clothes
- Bringing dirty dishes to the sink
- Wiping up spills and cleaning up messes
Taking Responsibility for Others
Understanding Family and Teamwork
The next task in responsibility is in learning to care for others, whether it is another family member, a friend or one of your pets. Again, many of these suggestions can be started while your kids are still toddlers and beginning to grasp the concepts of others. Not only that, but toddlers are quite eager to help with many chores and you may find that teaching them responsibility in these ways also conveniently combine with other learning goals such as colors, shapes, animals, and so on. While they are still young they may only be helping with these tasks, but soon they will be able to do the whole task all by themselves!
- Here are some ideas in this category:
Empty small trashcans
- Empty the dishwasher of non-breakables
- Sort dirty laundry by darks and lights
- Feed and water family pets
- Water plants
- Put groceries away
Responsibility for Choices
Understanding Destructive vs. Productive
Choices can be destructive and create more work or they can be productive and make good use of time, energy and resources! Whether you are trying to teach your kids to take responsibility for fixing their destructive choices or you are trying to teach them how to make productive choices, you can still start teaching them these things at a very young age! Teach them to learn from their mistakes, remember to praise them when they make good choices, and always lead by example!