10 Ways to Teach Kids Responsibility July 28, 2017 – Posted in: Positive Parenting, Responsible Kids

A big part of our job as parents is doing what we can to help our kids develop into responsible adults by teaching them invaluable life skills. Sure, we want our kids to have happy, carefree childhoods, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t teach your kids about responsibility. Giving kids house chores does not make you a strict or lazy parent, it’s something that will prevent them from growing up entitled and thinking that the world will just hand them everything they want. Follow some of these suggestions or come up with your own and you’ll be the proud parent of helpful kids with a positive can-do attitude.

  1. Lead by example

Young kids may not understand on their own that they should pick up their toys or throw out their garbage but you can show them by demonstrating. Each time you finish eating, show them how you throw away empty wrappers in the trash can. When taking off clothes at the end of the day, demonstrate how dirty clothes go into the hamper.

  1. Dole out age-appropriate chores

In our household we have four daughters. The twins are still too young for chores, but our older daughters have a list of chores each day that they must complete. The definition of “chore” is “a routine task, especially a household one.” So chores for kids should not be a once in a while thing or negotiable. Chores are daily must-do tasks and once the chores are done, then the kids can play, watch TV, etc. Work hard play hard, right?

It takes hard work to achieve goals in life and by mandating that my kids complete their chores each day, we are preparing them for the real world and showing them that through hard work comes rewards.

Plus, chores teach good work ethic. Were the chores done correctly?  It’s important that chores are done but also done well. This teaches kids to take pride in their work.  So instead of dreading chores, kids learn to accept the responsibility and complete the work by giving it their all.  It’s like getting dressed and brushing your teeth. Chores become part of the daily routine.

Some may think this is being too strict, but really it’s a part of positive parenting that we embrace and the result is having well behaved kids that don’t mind rolling up their sleeves to get a job done. When it comes time to study for school, complete a project, start working their first job, and more, our girls will be ready to take on the challenge. We hope that they think back and say, “I’m grateful my parents taught me the importance of working hard.”

Giving constant handouts without working for it is easy to do for parents, but my husband and I feel that everything we do should be teaching our kids responsibility and how hard work pays off. Of course we have lots of fun too!

Here is an example of my kids’ chores lists:

  1. Ask for help

When doing tasks around the house, invite your child to help you by drying dishes, dusting a shelf, or putting cleaning supplies away. Younger kids are usually excited to get the opportunity to help mom and dad and it makes them feel like a “big kid.” Make sure to further encourage your child with positive remarks and a thank you for a job well done.

  1. Don’t be afraid to start young

The younger your child is when you start teaching responsibility, the easier it will be for everyone. Older kids who were never expected to help out around the house when they were younger may try to push back and complain when asked to help out now. Little ones who help out will develop a good sense of self-esteem.

  1. Make it fun

Doing small chores around the house is great for teaching responsibility but most people (young and old) dislike doing chores because they’re no fun. The trick is to make them fun! You can sing songs while washing dishes or put away clothes with Tidy Snap. The Tidy Snap clothing organization system is easy enough for kids to use and they enjoy the fun process of rolling the clothes and watching the band snap neatly around the rolled clothing.

Using Tidy Snap

  1. Be patient

When you first ask your child for help around the house, you will have to be patient because they won’t do it perfectly the first time around. Resist the temptation to step in and take over because it’s taking too long or they’re not doing it right. Recognize your child for doing the best job they could and continue to show them how to do it the right way.

  1. Praise your child

It’s so important for parents to verbally acknowledge when their child helps out – this positive reinforcement encourages them to keep trying their best and take pride in themselves for helping out. That being said, don’t offer a reward for every single task your child helps with because then she will begin to do tasks just for the reward. Save the reward as a surprise for a big chore your child did on her own without being asked.

  1. Set consequences

When you are teaching your children about responsibility, you must also teach them they are responsible for their actions. For example, if your child is forgetful and leaves his homework at home, don’t bring the homework to school. He will learn from his mistake and be more careful not to leave things at home anymore. Another example is if your child starts a fight with his sibling and starts being verbally or physically aggressive, the consequence should be a time-out or revoking a privilege like watching TV or playing outside after homework is done.

  1. Play the Responsibility Game

To play this game you must make a set of index cards that each lists a different hypothetical situation such as, “I forgot my shoes for soccer practice” or “I found out my friend did something bad.” Shuffle the cards and lay them face down and have each family member take turns picking a card and reading it aloud. Everyone then has a chance to say what they think the responsible thing to do would be in each situation. The person reading the card chooses the best answer and explains why.

  1. Keep a wall chart

Having a wall chart of chores and activities is a good way of keeping the family organized and also acts as an incentive for getting chores done. It reminds kids of what they have to do and they love seeing a gold star or check next to their name when a task has been accomplished. Every time your child sees the chart he will be proud to see all the progress he has made and will be excited to see what he can accomplish the following week.


Written by Alison Tringale, mom of four and inventor of Tidy Snap, clothes organizer for babies, kids and adults!  Replaces the need to fold and refold clothes over and over again once they get messy in drawers from rummaging around to find something to wear. BUY Tidy Snap here to make chores fun!