Teaching Kids Responsibility


We all have our own opinion on this, I’m going to share mine, no judgement please. Our kids are all grown and doing well for themselves, we’re very proud of who they have become. Makes you stop and think how they got that way? In all honesty here, I would tell them often to make good choices, if you get in trouble with the law, first off, we didn’t have bail money, and second, what choices did you make to get there?! We are all responsible for the choices we make, the good, the bad and the ugly.

While still my opinion, I do believe we should teach our children to be responsible. Even when I taught preschool I taught the children to be responsible for their work. I’d ask them “Who is doing this project?”  And, make them think about how they are going to learn from it and maybe even help another person, too!  When they came in to the class and I knew they didn’t brush their teeth, again, I’d ask, “who is responsible for brushing your teeth?” Or, when they forgot their homework, “Who is responsible for putting your homework in your backpack when it is completed?” However, my favorite one to use was when a child was not being kind to another child, I’d ask them, “How would you feel if…and put them in the situation they are being rude about with another child”? This ALWAYS made them think about their actions and that is part of being responsible.

The world today is much more selfish, again, my opinion. What I mean is that the kids today feel that they deserve a trophy for playing on a team. Deserve a trophy, even though they didn’t come in a high bracket, they still deserve a trophy. Mostly in sports this seems to be happening. If you didn’t get 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in an event, you did not get, nor did you earn that trophy back in my day. If you din’t get this trophy, guess what, we didn’t cry, we tried harder the next time. This drives you, this makes you yearn to do better, to practice harder, to learn more, to buckle down and get it done the next time. Whether this is a trophy from a sport, a better grade in a class or a higher position on the ladder. You have to try harder to get better and to feel better about what you’ve accomplished.

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What is the old cliché’, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin, I feel these words are powerful and so very true to form.

Think about it, when a child makes a mess in the playroom, should you pick the mess up? Nope! It is their responsibility to clean up after themselves. Granted, they may not put things away in the exact spot, and that’s OK. So long as they pick up after themselves, eventually they will put things where they belong. Why? Because the next time they go for their favorite toy or book and can’t find it, you explain to them that they need to put things back where they belong. You don’t put the ice cream in the oven do you? Teach them where things belong, teach them to take care of belongs and teach them that everything has a place. Teach them to be responsible.

When you ask your child to get their favorite game so you can play it with them and they come back crying because they can’t find it, well, explain to them that when the game is put back where you found it, in it’s proper place, then the next time we want to play the game, it will be there. Not to mention picking up all the pieces so when you play the game all the pieces are there to play! It’s simply being responsible, tough love or parenting, call it what you may, but know that you are building this pattern and when we teach our children to be responsible, they grow into their own.

Is it cruel to have your children do chores? Absolutely not! I’ll be honest, with our first child I would clean up after him, do it all if you will and what did it get me? Exhausted! Teach them to be responsible and to put their dishes in the sink, or to take their pet for a walk, or to wipe their feet when they come in the house. All of these things seem trivial, but believe me, they add up! Start small, after your child finishes his snack, have them clean up their mess, after playing outside, have them put the outdoor things away to where they belong, etc. This teaches them responsibility, makes you happy and they are learning how to take care of themselves building good character!

Do a chore chart together with your children. Show and tell them what it is that they are responsible for. This depends on your family dynamic of course, but, start with the basics, putting things in their proper place, helping clear the table, helping with pets, helping put laundry away, etc. You are not harming your child by having them help out around the house, you are teaching them to be responsible and you will reap the seeds you sow here!

What is the old cliché’, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin,

These my friends, are words to live by.


Joni Downey,
Creator & Owner