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.