Teaching Responsibility: How I Plan to Start at an Early Age

It is extremely difficult to teach responsibility to children, especially at an early age. Children want to do what they want when they want and not have to worry about cleaning up after. That is why toys are left all over the house, clothes all over the floor, and dishes on the table.

I know I didn’t want to take any responsibility for any of those things as a kid and even as a teenager. I left everything all over my bedroom floor and never picked up despite being asked. My chore was to do the dishes and I would avoid doing those as long as possible. But once I was in high school, I finally figured out I needed to take responsibility for my actions. It definitely started out small but I grew to take larger responsibilities.

Kids do need to take responsibility for themselves so that when they are on their own, they know to handle basic things like cleaning and doing dishes. Here is my plan to teach my daughter responsibility at a young age.

Begin with something small

My plan is to begin with picking up toys that she used and place it in a bin where her toys are stored. I know that this is where a lot of parents start and it can be effective. I will start by explaining that these toys are hers but only if she cares for them. Caring for them will include putting them away and making sure nothing bad happens to them.

Move to a bigger responsibility and keep the old one

As she continues to grow, I want to move to a responsibility like putting her plate on the counter after eating. It will teach her to clean up after meals and show how a small action like that can help the bigger task of doing the dishes.

Give total responsibility over a task

Once multiple smaller responsibilities are taken care of, it will be time for full responsibility over a task. I will move up to doing dishes from placing dishes on the counter. Another could be doing her own laundry. The prior task might be placing clothes in a hamper and bringing that to the laundry room when it is full. She can then learn to do her own laundry.

Provide avenues to independence

As tasks won’t be completed if she does not do them, she will realize having this responsibility is important. From there, I want to provide different ways to independence. Laundry is one way to independence, another is to teach her how to cook. I also want to teach things like how to mow the lawn and change tires so that she is able to handle all aspects of living on her own.


Many kids don’t know how to handle basic responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, or taking care of the yard. This makes it difficult to grow in their own independence. I want to teach my daughter responsibility from an early age so when she does go on her own to college or her first job, she feels comfortable and not scared of being on her own. These steps are what I hope to achieve so that she is ready and wants independence as she grows, but knows how to handle responsibilities that come with growing up.

Living Loudly

It’s been said that actions speak louder than words. Yet, I spent my college years studying how words can be crafted into amazing, beautiful stories. I discovered how each word has an enormous impact on the meaning of a sentence and in turn, how that affected the next sentence.

               Lately, I have realized that actions really do speak louder than words. I can say all the right things to make my wife happy, but I need to step up in my actions. Of course, sometimes I don’t say the right thing. But more often than not, my actions are in question. I don’t react in the right way when Sarah and I are having a conversation, or I don’t help her as much as I should as she is healing from childbirth. I have chosen myself plenty more times than I should have. I have focused on how I feel: whether I am hungry, thirsty, or tired. I chose to get myself food, water, and sleep before getting Sarah what she needs. I have failed in my duties as a husband often.

               Along with needing to work on my actions, there is another thought I have been contemplating. It is extremely easy to do life with Sarah and Eloise. I wake up each morning, help change diapers before I go to work, come home from work, make supper, and then we go to bed. I enjoy every second with them and can’t wait to see them when I get home from work. But it isn’t just about “doing life.” It is about helping Sarah and Eloise grow. Sarah and I have been married for two years now and it is so easy to go about each day as husband and wife without thinking about deeper issues. As a part of our vows, we agreed to help and guide each other to grow as human beings. I have been focusing on meaningless things in the everyday without remembering that part of our vows. I need to ask how I can make both Sarah and Eloise’s day better. I need to ask what I can do to make sure they know how much I love and care for them. I need to ask what I can do to make sure they grow, whether it be a few words or more importantly, an action.

               It isn’t easy to think about how every action one does effects multiple people. It worries me because I know I need to do better. I don’t handle situations correctly many times. I act quickly without thinking and after thinking about what I did for hours, I realize what I should have done. But by then, it was too late. Now, I am working on thinking about my actions and the consequences on others every day. Especially on my wife and daughter, who are the most affected by my actions. If I don’t commit good actions, I cannot help and guide them in a morally correct manner. It begins with myself, knowing who I am, and who I need to be to become the best husband and father that I can. It is a daily process, one I hope I can say changes me for the better so that I can be a positive difference-maker every day.