Raising responsible children is a common goal of parenting, but sometimes we don’t know where to start. Here are five tips that have worked for me:
Start with chores that directly impact them. For instance, my girls are responsible for packing most of their lunch. They are likely to remember this because it directly impacts what they are eating the next day. If I have to pack the whole lunch they are left to eat what I choose, and my choices are different than theirs, :-).
Assign chores and household tasks according to their age and ability. This chore chart post by Penny Pinchin Mom has options for charts, so you can choose the one that works best for you and your family. There is also a guide of chores by age, and you can modify as needed. It may help you delegate some things you didn’t consider.
Establish consequences and enforce them if necessary. Teach your kids early that every action has a reaction, and outline upfront what will happen if their to-do list is not completed. Then follow through with the consequence, so that your work is not undermined by your inaction. Hopefully this won’t happen often.
Establish rewards. When I say reward, I don’t mean money. This can be a great opportunity to show the benefits of being responsible, and doing what needs to be done first. For instance, once they have cleaned their room allow free time for a favorite activity like screen time or playing a game. I liken this to me watching my favorite tv shows after I have some check marks on my to-do list, :-).
Allow them to make decisions. You may be inclined to give them all the answers (or do it yourself), but the decision-making muscle needs a safe place to exercise, too. Let them start with little things (what to wear, how to help, etc.), and go from there.
I hope these tips help!