Part of a parent’s job is to teach their child responsibility and work ethic.   These are character traits that are so important and worth the investment of the time that it takes to teach them to your child. As with any life lesson, it’s not a one-shot deal. In order to teach a child responsibility, the parent has to be consciously aware of the behavior they are trying to cultivate in their children. There are methods of teaching children responsibility; however, they all come down to the same thing, a child cannot behave responsibly if they do not know what responsibility is and what behaviors are responsible. teaching a child to be responsible

Teach the child what responsibility means.

That’s the real trick to teaching them to be responsible.  Showing them, teaching them, guiding them. Explain what it means and then teach them about how it looks & how they can be responsible, too. Parents are responsible not because they want to be but because they reach a point in your life where there are obligations and people counting on them. Responsible behavior in adults is so natural it seems like they were born that way. That’s not the case. Responsibly is cultivated from the time they were children through their teen years and eventually into adulthood. Children have to go through the same process of learning about responsibility.

Talk to the child about what they are responsible for and why.

Consider all the things that you want the children to be responsible for. It can be a little overwhelming for a child that doesn’t understand why they have to do it. Discuss with the children why these are the things that are important. Make sure they understand that not living up to their obligations has consequences. Whether it’s a bad grade, a sick pet, or being grounded. Each time the child asks for something that will be a new responsibility to remind them what that new responsibility will entail.

Whenever possible teach by example.

Talk to your children about what your responsibilities are and how their own relates to yours.  Reinforce responsible behaviors. Any time the child behaves responsibly without having to be reminded, it’s a small victory for the parents. Find ways of rewarding good behavior even if it’s just a sticker on a chart.

Find punishments for irresponsible behavior.

It doesn’t have to be a harsh punishment, however, it should fit the behavior. This is part of the consequences of irresponsible behavior. When children realize not doing what they are supposed to have negative effects on them, they learn what responsible behavior is quicker.

Explain to your children what you expect from them.

If you expect them to clean their room tell them so. Don’t just expect them to understand what you want without making it clear.  You can even set a rule in place to remind them to keep their room clean.  It might seem like you only have to tell them a few times, however, as with any lesson the key to having them truly learn it is repetition. A few of the things that teach children to be responsible include homework, chores (you can swap chores for screentime),  pets, working on their life skills, and to teach financial responsibility a savings account works well.

Give them Chores that teach them to work hard & put that work before play.

You can use these cards to screentime for your chores, you can download a chore chart, or you can simply give your child a list each morning.  Giving them age-appropriate chores will help, because you can show them what you expect of them and they will be able to do them.  The point is that your child needs to learn that we do our work before we play.

WHEN their work or homework is done, THEN they can have free time. 

When teaching your children to be responsible, remember that children have a way of forgetting what they are supposed to be doing so frequent reminders will help them get into the habit of behaving responsibly. Learn more by talking with our community of parents on our Facebook page. 

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