Every mom who has ever stepped on a Lego asks themselves what more could they be doing to get their kids to pick up after themselves. I wish there was a magic pill that made kids want to clean up, but so far the best thing I have learned is consistency with these 7 principles.
1. Age Appropriate Chores - One of the best ways to teach kids responsibility is to give them responsibility. Make sure the chores are appropriate for their age. Some ideas for toddlers include picking up toys, dusting, clearing their own dinner plate and more. In the beginning it might be frustrating to teach your child these things but eventually they will pick it up.
2. Be an example - Your kids are going to grow up to be more like you than you think. Make sure you are showing them good habits.
3. Extra Chores for Money- Allowing your child the chance to complete extra chores for some money will help teach them to work for what they want. There should be some chores that are expected of them before they can do extras for money, this will help them learn to help as part of a family and then work extra hard for the extra things. If you don't like the idea of your child earning money for their chores you can have them earn something else like screen time. You can download our system for screen time minutes here.
4. Praise their good work - When you children help you make sure to praise them and let them know how happy you are that they are helping you.
5. Have Consequences For Lack of Responsibility - When your kids don't do their chores there needs to be appropriate consequences. In our house this usually means no screen time until the chores are done. Part of expecting your kids to be responsible is letting the deal with the consequences when they aren't.
6. Talk About The Importance Of Responsibility - Don't just have the responsibility talk once. Work it into your daily conversations. Let them know that there aren't any bowls for cereal because the dishes didn't get done. Talk about how important it is for parents to fulfill their responsibilities. Making this a small part of life will make it feel less like a lecture.
7. Build in a organizational system - Set your kids up to succeed with how their responsibilities are organized. Here are some of my favorite organizational systems to help little ones.
Portable Homework Station - Our portable homework station lets our kids have everything they need to get their homework done right at their finger tips. No excuses on their homework because they have everything they need. Find more about our Portable Homework Station here.
My First Cubby from Little Partners - If you want your child to hang up their coats, put away their shoes and their backpacks you need a place to put them. When my daughter first started school I was always frustrated to find that her jacket and backpack would end up dumped in the bottom of the coat closet. I soon realized that she wasn't trying to frustrate me, she couldn't reach the coat hook. I started looking for a better solution. I found these cubbies by Little Partners and I am absolutely in love. There are two separate cubbies and each cubby has a place to hang things up and two separate shelves. My kids hang their coats on the hooks, then shoes go on the bottom shelf and mittens and hats go on the top one. The system is so easy that even my two-year-old can put her own stuff away. I had always assumed my toddler was two young to know how to put her own jacket away, apparently I just didn't have the right system in place.
My First Cubby is the perfect size. It doesn't take up too much space in our entryway, but it has space my kids need for their things. There is a small ledge for the kids to sit on when they are putting on their shoes. It has an anti-tipping strap so I am not worried about it tipping over when my toddler is climbing on it to get her things. I wanted these cubbies to help teach my 8-year-old more responsibility when it came to putting away her things but I have absolutely loved that it has taught the 2-year-old the same things.
When it comes to responsibility it is never too young to start teaching. Your toddler can put toys in a basket or even hang up their own jacket!
How do you teach your kids responsibility?