Your friend has a young daughter who makes her own snack and packs most of her lunch. Your sister’s 2-year-old son cleans up his dishes after dinner. How did these parents get so lucky? It isn’t luck—they’ve raised their children to make responsible choices. Teaching children how to take responsibility is not easy and takes a lot of practice, but if you work on this, your child is more likely to develop into a responsible adult.
The earlier in life that you give children responsibilities, the earlier these responsibilities will become routine and habitual. There are tasks that even toddlers can perform, such as picking up toys, helping to feed pets, and taking care of their own dishes after meals.
One of the easiest ways to introduce recurring responsibilities is to invite your children to help when it is time to do housework. (But be prepared! The job may take longer than normal and may not be done to your expectations.) Chores around the house are widely varied so there is usually some chore or part of a chore where children can pitch in.
While many parents like to give money for chores, most child development experts believe household responsibilities are not the place for monetary rewards. Young children are happy just spending time with you and hearing how much you appreciate their efforts. This helps boost their confidence level. Save the rewards for duties that go above and beyond daily household chores.
There are many effective ways to encourage your child to take on household responsibilities:
The following website contains an age-appropriate list of chores most children can accomplish: