Teaching Your Kids How to be Responsible From a Young Age

Teaching Your Kids How to be Responsible From a Young Age

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!


Is a Christmas Pet a Good or Bad Idea?

Pet For Christmas

Are your kids ready for a pet for Christmas?  They may have come home after playing with their best friend’s dog and told you that they would like to have a puppy.

Or maybe your daughter has decided that a kitten is exactly what she needs to fulfill her life.

But is a pet for Christmas a good or bad idea?


When we were growing up, getting a pet for Christmas was always one of the most exciting presents around.  Yes, we got the usual lecture of being responsible for the kitten or puppy and, of course, we swore on our honor that we would take care of them.

The reality is, however, that kids go back to school and families go back to work but you still need to care for a puppy or kitten.

What Do You Do?

A kitten is easier than a puppy with respect to her toilet needs. She simply uses a litter box.

A puppy, on the other hand, will need to be taken outside every 2 hours for the first month or so to start house training and teaching him that your home is his clean den.

If you have a stay at home parent, the house training issues for a dog are easier but that parent’ schedule must still be a factor.  Not everyone stays home, so it’s a big consideration when deciding whether not to get a puppy for your child’s Christmas present.

The Statistics

Sadly, too many Christmas pets are surrendered to shelters every year.  There are a myriad of reasons but, mostly, it’s because the pet has too many needs for a busy family after the holiday vacation is over.

Fostering An Older Pet

One way to get around the issue of a young dog or cat as a present for Christmas, is to think about becoming a foster family for an older dog or cat at holiday time.  This is a great way to see if an animal will integrate well with your family lifestyle and schedule.

It also teaches your kids responsibility without having the issues of house training a puppy.

A Better Alternative?

Perhaps a better alternative for your family this year, is to talk about what kind of pet your children would like and make their Christmas present the beginning of choosing him or her.

Naturally, whatever pet you decide upon needs to be age-appropriate for your kids and also fit into your lifestyle as well.  It may be that a smaller pet like a hamster or a gerbil or even some fish would be a great start for a busy family.

So let’s answer the question: Is a pet for Christmas a good idea or bad one?  The answer is that there isn’t a concrete answer.  It really will depend on the age of your children, their schedules and the lifestyle of your family.

If you think your kids are ready for a puppy or kitten and you’re all in, then a Christmas pet is a perfect idea.

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