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Teaching Kids to be Responsible

Updated on June 3, 2015

What is Responsibility?

Responsibility is when someone is held accountable for something. Kids need to learn how to be responsible just like adults do. It helps them to grow up to be useful members of our society, as well as gives them a good dose of self-esteem. Itâs possible to teach kids at a young age how to be responsible, but it takes time and patience on the part of the parents

In order for children to learn how to be responsible, they have to be taught how to take care of something and have something to be responsible for. Depending on their age, the âsomethingâ can be chores around the house, taking care of a pet, brushing their own teeth or other things. Here are a few ways that kids can learn to be responsible human beings:

Here are Some Great Responsibility Charts

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Magnetic Responsibility Chart With 90 Magnets
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Magnetic Responsibility Chart With 90 Magnets

We, parents at some point need some kind of 'chart' to help our children keep track of what they suppose to do and to motivate them toward responsible behaviour.

This chart may be a good start in that direction.

 

Using General Responsibility Charts

A great way to start teaching kids how to be responsible is to create a responsibility chart. This can be something very simple with pictures for younger children, to more complicated written ones for the older kids. For instance, older kids can have things on it such as doing their school-work or bringing their laundry to the laundry room, while young kids can have things like remembering to brush their teeth or picking up their toys.

If they don’t do whatever is on their job chart, then they don’t get the sticker or they get some sort of penalty like a privilege being removed. If they aren't help responsible for their actions, then they won’t understand what true responsibility is all about.

It’s easy to find simple charts on-line to print or you can make your own or even find them in some craft or dollar stores. Try to find the ones with bright colours, stickers and other things to make them more special and you can put the child’s name on it in big letters.

Magnetic Reward / Star / Responsibility / Behavior Chart for up to 3 Children. Rigid board 16" x 13" (40 x 32cm) with hanging loop
Magnetic Reward / Star / Responsibility / Behavior Chart for up to 3 Children. Rigid board 16" x 13" (40 x 32cm) with hanging loop

I have two kids from ages 3 and 5. This chart is working great for them. We've only had it for one week and children are competing hard to collect more stars.

 

Responsibility Towards People

It's also important to be responsible to other people. For instance, kids can be taught that if they don't do their homework, then they fail a class in school because they aren't being responsible to either themselves or the teacher. Or, smaller kids can be shown that if they don't help you to set the table or don't wash their hands, that dinner is delayed and that means they aren't being responsible for the rest of the family getting to eat dinner on time.

People need to be able to trust one another and that can only be done if they understand how to be responsible to each other. For instance, if someone shares a secret with you, then it's being responsible if you don't blab it to the whole world.

Also, if a person agrees to do a chore or a favour for someone else, they need to follow through and not change their minds just because they found something they would rather do instead. This makes people distrust you and even a child knows that if you don't keep a promise that you aren't being responsible and they won't want to trust you any-more.

Responsibility Towards Plants

Kids can also be taught that it is important to be responsible to things like plants, because since plants are a living thing, they will die if they are not watered or put in sunshine and given plant fertilizer or vitamins. Give a small child something simple like a little paper cup, some flower or other seeds and help them plant them. Then, tell them they have to water and take care of it every day and it will bloom.

If they don’t, they learn the consequences of not being responsible and their plant won’t grow. If they are responsible and take faithful care of their little seed, then soon they will have a pretty flower or other plant to admire and be proud of.

Monkeys! Picture Book for Kids about Monkeys and Apes – Funny Monkey Pictures and Great Apes Facts (Kids Learning: Amazing Animals Books for Kids Ages 4-8 2)
Monkeys! Picture Book for Kids about Monkeys and Apes – Funny Monkey Pictures and Great Apes Facts (Kids Learning: Amazing Animals Books for Kids Ages 4-8 2)

This book is well written. It is teaching kids to love and respect animals. If children learn to be responsible towards animals, they will grow as reliable and responsible persons.

 

Responsibility Towards Animals

Teach Your Kids to Love and Respect Animals

Another great task for teaching kids about responsibility is taking care of pets. Most kids want a dog, cat or maybe a goldfish or other pet. At first they are all excited and take care of it and then the newness wears off and they may be less responsible. However, if you put that chose on their job chart, this can help them to do it.

Plus, you can explain to the child that Fluffy or Fido will get hungry or wet on the rug or other consequence if they don’t take care of their pet. Explain that animals have feelings too and how would they feel if someone neglected them.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Kids also learn by seeing how their parents and the other adults and siblings around them act. If a child sees their mom or dad doing the right thing and being responsible, they are more likely to do the same. But, if the child only sees you telling them to be responsible while you are lying, or not doing something they know you are supposed to do, then they too will figure that it isn't important to be responsible. So, watch what you do because little eyes are watching and little ears are listening!

All in all, consequences need to speak for the things that people do and don’t do. For instance, if your son forgets his homework, he isn't being responsible to himself and so he may get a bad grade or if they forget to return a library book, the fine should come out of their allowance.

Parents need to refrain from bailing their kids out of problems and let them learn that if they aren't responsible that it is possible bad things could happen. Otherwise they will think that everyone should do everything for them and they won’t grow up to be responsible at all.

Responsibility is important to all of us and it is what makes society great. Teach your children when they are young and they are sure to grow up responsible and you can be proud of them.

Bedtime Stories: Old Owl’s Folktales: Fairy Tales, Folklore and Legends about Animals for Children (Bedtime Stories for Kids, Early Readers Books for Ages 4-8 Book 2)
Bedtime Stories: Old Owl’s Folktales: Fairy Tales, Folklore and Legends about Animals for Children (Bedtime Stories for Kids, Early Readers Books for Ages 4-8 Book 2)

Folktales are our ancestors wisdom. Our ancestors certainly knew how teach children to be responsible towards this world.

 

Does Your Child Look After Somebody or Something.

Think about what responsibilities has your child. Even if he is very little child. It is never too early. It just may be too late.

Does your child have a pet?

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All My Relatives Are Dragons: Picture Book For Kids About Dragons (Kids Learning: Amazing Animals Books for Kids Ages 4-8 1)
All My Relatives Are Dragons: Picture Book For Kids About Dragons (Kids Learning: Amazing Animals Books for Kids Ages 4-8 1)

This amazing book is about reptiles, both ancient and modern. This is an exciting journey from the prehistoric world of the dinosaurs to the island of modern Komodo Dragons. This book is written to teach kids to be responsible towards the animals. I definitely recommend this book for parents who want to teach their children to love and respect animals.

 

Cartoons Are Powerful Tool in Responsibility Teaching

You should use every possible way to teach your kids to be responsible, but you have to be creative and inventive. Use cartoons, songs, books, anything to keep your child's attention to the subject.

Everybody is welcome to say something useful here. Tell us about your child. Tell us about your teaching techniques. Tell us about your success or failure. Together we can find the right direction!

Let's Discuss This...

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    • Julia Cussler profile image
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      Julia Cussler 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Absolutely agree with you Alice. Children are always watching us. The most powerful education for kids is your own behaviour!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Our first instinct is to protect and direct our child. Instead of telling your kid what he should do, try to guide him through the process of coming to his own decision. Try to encourage him to think it over and support his conclusion.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Simple way to teach your kids responsibility is to implement age-appropriate chores. Your kid will learn how to manage finances if you add some financial incentive.

      Also if you are taking your own responsibilities very seriously, you will set an example for your kid.