5 steps to teach your kid responsibility!

How do you bring up children with a sense of responsibility, who take care of themselves and their possessions?


How many times have you moaned at your child, “Why are you late/messy/losing things? Be more responsible!”? After all, your child has to learn these things as they grow up, right?

          Says family life educator James Satchy, “Responsibility may be too broad a concept for a child. It needs to be broken down into specific, doable actions for the child to understand.” These can then be learned as a habit.

          So if, for example, he says, you want to teach your child that a responsible child cleans up after themselves, start with a small job: Put your dishes in the sink once done.

          To make it clearer, you can add a time element: After meals.

          Then, when your child does it, you have to do your part — compliment their performance of the action. “Thank you, that was responsible of you!”

          This sort of acknowledgement of right action plus positive reinforcement can help inspire more of the same behaviour!


“Responsibility may be too broad a concept for a child. It needs to be broken down into specific, doable actions…”


          But what happens when your child doesn’t do it? Obviously, when you’ve just started this “training”, you’ll have to remind them a few times. But when they don’t do it more often, you should discuss what they should have done with them — don’t just scold them. Satchy suggests that you make sure the conversation go something like:

You: “What are you supposed to do after dinner?”

Child: “Don’t know.”

You: “Where are the dishes supposed to go?”

Child: “Sink?”

You: “Thanks, you are learning how to be responsible!” (As your child brings the dishes to the sink)…

Satchy helps you create a basic framework to break things down into simple tasks for your youngster…