CHS Blog

Raising Responsible Children

Raising Responsible Children
Posted on October 16, 2018 by CHS

When children are born, they are born ready to absorb the vast information around them. As parents, you have the power to help them grow into responsible human beings. This blog will provide tips for how you can teach your child about responsibility.

According to clinical psychologist Carolyn Levers-Landis, PhD, “responsibility has to do with being reliable and being someone who can be trusted,” which means that  a responsible person does much  more than cleaning their room and doing chores, but rather, a responsible person understands that their actions affect those around them. Teaching children a sense of responsibility to themselves, others, and their environment at a young age can help them grow into caring and responsible global citizens.

Create a strong foundation for learning by teaching your child about responsibility when she is a toddler. You can start teaching responsibilities to toddlers by showing them how to do basic tasks and asking them to help. Make sure to praise them when they help put their toys away or set the table. Use the word “responsible” when you praise them so they become familiar with it and its meaning. For example, “Thank you for being a responsible person and helping me set the table.”

When you toddler is old enough, have her help out with housework. While it can take longer to complete your daily tasks when your child is helping, she will feel valued when you ask her for help. By helping you with housework, she will be learning the responsibility of taking care of her things and her family community. Start off with simple tasks such as putting the toys away, washing fruit and vegetables, folding laundry, and setting the table for a meal. Be sure to talk to her about how to complete these tasks. You can teach her to put her dishes in the sink by modeling how to do it while explaining, “we put the dishes in the sink after we finish eating.” It’s important to have all family members follow the same house rules so that she doesn’t question why she’s the only one that has to do it. Lead by example! By teaching your child different housework tasks early and emphasizing the importance of them, your child will grow up feeling confident she can do these tasks on her own.

When children are still young, they don’t see chores as work and are happy to help you. Use this to your advantage and have fun with your child while you work on chores together. Whenever your child is helping you, be sure to praise her by saying, “Thank you for cleaning the table!” or “You put all your toys away and I’m proud of you for being so helpful and responsible!” These phrases will help your child develop a sense of ownership and allow him to take initiative in doing tasks without being asked as he grows up.

Avoid rewarding your child for being responsible. While a reward system has its benefits, it isn’t needed to motivate your child to do chores. When you use a reward system, your child will grow up with the mindset that whenever he completes a task, he will receive a reward. This is not the mindset you want your child to have; you want him to develop the mindset of feeling proud of being responsible.

Teach your child that part of being responsible is that there are consequences for her actions. For example, if she forgets to clean up her toys or pack her sport accessories n her bag, she has to learn the consequence for overlooking that responsibility. If she doesn’t put her toys away, remove them for a while. If she forgot to pack her sports bag and realizes it when she arrives at practice, have her go without that practice instead of bringing the bag to her. Over time, she will understand her responsibilities and remember to follow through with them next time. It can be tempting to give in and solve problems for your child; however, this won’t teach them responsibility. This doesn’t mean that you should never help your child. It’s up to you evaluate each situation and how to proceed as you determine how to best teach your child about responsibilities and consequences.

Reference and Sources

Sign up for CHS updates
Areas of Interest


Children’s Home Society of California’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service have changed. Click here to learn more.