My husband and I firmly believe in the importance of teaching kids responsibility. One of our goals was to teach our kids how to work hard, as well as contribute to the family by helping with the work in the home. They learned to do dishes, vacuuming, dusting, and laundry, among other things.
This wasn’t because I didn’t want to do these jobs, because many times it actually would have easier to do it myself! Rather it was because teaching kids responsibility helps them to grow in character, as they also learn traits such as diligence, perseverance, and initiative.
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One of the simplest ways of teaching kids responsibility is training them to do various jobs in the home, and be responsible for those jobs on a regular basis.
Not only does this help them to learn responsible work habits, but they also experience the joy that comes from getting a job done well while helping out in the family.
5 Tips For Teaching Kids Responsibility
1. When giving kids a new job, make sure you tell them exactly what is required, and demonstrate for them step by step.
The next time let them do it while you supervise. A list to help them remember the steps involved might be helpful in jobs that have several steps. (like cleaning the bathroom)
2. Give the job to the youngest one that can accomplish it, and let the older ones do the more challenging ones.
For example, I would have my preschooler help unload the dishwasher, or set the table, while one of the oldest would do laundry.
As they progress in their ability, change the jobs.
Your goal should be to teach your kids how to do all the jobs that they will be responsible for when they have their own home.
3. Don’t give the harder jobs to the more “compliant” child, or the one who you know will willingly do it, versus the one who isn’t quite as willing.
This isn’t fair for the compliant child, and it’s allowing the more difficult child to develop bad character, Take the time to deal with the attitude, and try to help that child see that work is not a punishment, but something God says is good. (Remind them of the verse that says a man shouldn’t eat if he doesn’t work!)
4. Teach them to take responsibility for getting their jobs done WITHOUT being reminded.
When I first starting making job charts for the kids, I found myself having to remind them all the time to do the jobs, even though they knew what was required, and it was posted for them to see. They could remember other things that were important to them, but couldn’t seem to remember to their jobs. (selective memory loss?!)
My husband and I talked about it, and realized that we really weren’t teaching them to have responsible work habits.
No boss would be happy if they had to daily tell their employee what to do, when they had already trained them and told them what their daily requirements would be.
The solution for us was to have something to MOTIVATE them to remember.
We had a little family meeting, and talked to the kids about the importance of being responsible. Then we told them we were not going to remind them any more about their jobs. At the end of the week, if they hadn’t done their jobs, they wouldn’t get to ________________. (Fill in the blank with something that is special for your kids.)
For our boys, it was going to the gym every week with Daddy, when he played basketball with the guys from church. They would go along and play in the gym, and LOVED it.
The first week we quit reminding them, I heard them whispering to each other, and reminding each other, “Don’t forget to do your jobs!”
After a few weeks, one of them forgot to do a couple of his jobs. He was broken-hearted when he didn’t get to go to basketball, but he didn’t forget any more after that!
5. “Inspect” their work, and make sure they are doing it to the best of their ability.
When my seven year-old son wiped the table off after a meal, I wasn’t surprised to see a streak here or there that he missed. However, if it was an older child that was missing spots, they would be required to come back and do it right. Don’t assign it, if you’re not willing to inspect it.
How are your kids doing with learning responsible work habits? Teaching kids responsibility and a good work ethic is something they will thank you for one day, and so will their future spouse!