Teaching Kids Responsibility

Learning how to be a responsible person starts at a young age. Here’s how you can help kids grow into responsible adults:

  1. Practice good habits. Children observe the behavior of those around them. Model responsibility as the desirable and appropriate way to act, and talk about it clearly (and kindly) when necessary.
  2. Establish routines and structure — and avoid rewards. From a young age, provide clear (but reasonable) expectations about what kids should do. Things like brushing teeth, making the bed, and getting a backpack together should just become common things they know they need to do. Don’t use rewards to build habits; simply establish these tasks as part of the routine.
  3. Be comfortable with consequences. If irresponsible behavior results in negative consequences, let the child sit with them. If you enforce the rules, they are less likely to be broken in the future.