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The only way a child can learn responsibility is if he/she is taught. Teaching is a critical part of a parent/child relationship.

Being responsible is an attitude as well as a skill. It can and must be taught. A child won’t know to put toys away unless he/she is taught. An adult won’t know how to return something he/she has borrowed or be at work on time unless he/she was taught. It is absolutely necessary that all humans are taught responsibility. The best way a parent can teach a child responsibility is little by little, day by day. Here are some tips to help teach your child responsibility.

1. Do not teach a child anything when he/she is tired or hungry.

2. Criticism is poison when it is combined with teaching.

3. Be patient: it takes time for anyone to change his/her ways.

4. Start when a child is very young. When a child can walk, he/she can pick up his/her toys. At age 3 or 4, a child can make his/her bed. At 5, a child can set the table and clear it. By age 8, he/she should have a list of jobs to do for each week.

5. Give a child instructions and then let him/her do it. Don’t keep nagging: just have a natural or monetary consequence follow if it is not done.

6. Give tons of praise and encouragement.

Irresponsible behavior will be totally unacceptable in the work force when children are older. Each employee knows his/her responsibilities and does them each day or he/she is fired or gets a pay cut. We can’t fire our kids, but we can certainly give them a pay cut.

The job “time sheet” is one way to make your children accountable for their jobs. Each time sheet is broken down by day with the job on it for the day. There is a column for a parent to check off if:
1. The job was completed.
2. The job was done without complaining. Each child gets a new job time sheet for the week. He/she must do his/her jobs and then come to a parent before the end of the day to have the jobs checked off the sheet.

There are some days when children can’t do their jobs because they have other obligations or things to do with friends. But just like a real job, they can ask for a morning or day off. They can not come up to you at the end of the day and say I needed today off because I was at a friend's house and could not do my jobs. They will still need to do the missed job the next day, and they will get a pay cut. All jobs have to be done regardless of if they get paid or not.

This job system works just like the real world. Each child is responsible for looking at his/her job time sheet each day and doing the jobs. He/she can get the benefit of pay or not, but he/she still has to do the job. This job system will help teach children responsibility.