How to teach your child being responsible


Your neighbour’s teenager cuts the lawn by himself without being asked? Your little nice puts the dirty dishes by herself in the sink when she finished the snack? Where did all these dream kids come from?

It is not a question of having a responsible child or not having one. It is neither a trick but more of a long lasting and ongoing teaching process. We will tell you today a bit more about this process and how to teach children being responsible.


Start young
You cannot expect suddenly that a teenager is responsible for certain tasks if you did not teach him this in advance. Start early by handing out responsibility.


They want to help you
Little children always want to help you. Mostly it means, that the housework will take another extra hour to be done. But take this time and solve it in team work. It will be the chance to teach him a lesson and to teach him life skills. Like that your child learns how things have to be done at home.


Show them the way
Instead of doing everything for them, show how to do it by themselves. If your little child wants a snack, show him where the fruit bowl is, how to wash the fruits and in the future, they will be independently doing this task. Use the word responsible and explain them in an age appropriate way what it means.


Say what you are doing
Tell your children what you have to do. This may be to tell after lunch something like “and now we(!!) have to put the dishes in the sink and wash them.” These actions, when repeated over and over again, will become routine and finally they will take over responsibility about such tasks.


Praise them
Always praise them when they did something like that! It will create a positive vibe and the children will start doing it with pleasure – because what they do is appreciated!


Do not expect too much
Even if your little kid does not make it perfect, praise them. Only like that you will keep their motivation up and the next time you can help them performing a specific task and show them how to make it better.


Do not implement Rewards
We all probably know the reward systems for children doing some housework tasks. But it is not a good idea to give rewards for basic tasks. Rewards should only be used when your kid does something extraordinary or just like that but not suggest that if he wants something special that he has to do a specific task.


Structure and routine
Your children probably will try to avid housework as older they get. Instead of offering rewards, create meaningful end results. This means, to create a positive end to a certain task. For example, when he/she puts the dishes away, he is after dinner free to play outside – if he loses 1 hour whining around before doing the task, there will be no time anymore to play outside.


This step is closely related to the “structure and routine” point above. You have to create consequences which seem natural to them. And where they create the final result. An example of that is for example the rule of tidy up the toys after playing with them.


If your children now do not put away the ball after playing outside, the natural consequence will be, that they will not have the ball tomorrow to play with. Your child creates the consequence which might be positive (the ball is available to play tomorrow) or negative (you will hide the ball from them for one day). The more you enforce the rules, the more likely they are to tidy up after playing.

Teaching your children responsibility is not an easy task – but parenting in general is neither easy! Do not get worried if teaching responsibility takes a long time – it may take up to few years. But it will be worth when you see your children growing up into responsible adults! To teach children being responsibility is a pretty slow thing 🙂

We wish you good luck.
Ben & Emma