Ministry of Education, Guyana

How to Raise Responsible Children

Teaching a child responsibility can help him grow into a sensible, dependable adult who's always accountable for himself and his actions. Learn how to do it by following these easy steps.

  1. Start young. Young children can help us set the dinner table or put their toys in the toy box.
  2. Show children how tasks should be done. Be clear with your expectations. Kids are imitators and they do much better when they are shown how to do something. Let's use those imitation skills to our advantage!
  3. Let kids show someone else how a task should be done. Nothing reinforces a skill like teaching it to another person.
  4. Be trustworthy and dependable. Children watch us like junior reporters, monitoring our every move. If they see us being responsible, trustworthy, and dependable on a regular basis, they are more likely to conclude being responsible is just a given.
  5. Apologize when you make a mistake. Kids already know we make mistakes, so we might as well admit them when we do. If we own up to our mistakes without blaming someone or something else, we show our children there is no shame in being wrong or falling short, especially when we accept responsibility for it.
  6. Give children a role or responsibility within the family. It's important to give them a task that really matters and let them know exactly why it matters. If you have a dog, walking the dog is important for both the family and the dog— both sides are thankful!
  7. Expect them to make mistakes. It is so easy to forget, especially with older children and teens, that even though the body looks like an adult on the outside, the inside still has an incomplete operating system, i.e. their brains are not yet fully developed.
  8. Avoid nagging, yelling, and criticizing. As hard as it might be, we have much less conflict when we avoid nagging, yelling, criticizing or other emotional displays when we are teaching or correcting.
  9. Work together as a family. Our children are not here to do the chores we don't want to do ourselves. Everyone in the family can take a turn doing the “yucky” chores, such as cleaning the dogs teeth at home.
  10. Provide friendly reminders to your children. Remind our children that everybody has to do things they don't like at one time or another; washing clothing is not your hobby – you do it because it needs to be done – and so should they.

Talking with our children about what it means to be responsible, and the opportunities it affords is the first step to raising responsible children. People who are responsible have better reputations, more educational options, and are trusted with tasks.


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