Teaching Your Child Responsibility to Build Confidence and Teach Values

Teaching Children Responsibility

Parent often struggle in determining how much responsibility to give the child.  Teaching children responsibility through age-appropriate activities helps the child build confidence, trust, and critical thinking.

Teaching Children Responsibility

In the recent book, How to Raise an Adult, published by Julies Lythcott-Haims giving children chores at an early age can help them develop life-long skills needed to be successful as an adult.  Chores help kids develop responsibility, self-sufficiency, and determination.

Age-appropriate Chores

Children assigned age-appropriate chores will gain a sense of accomplishment.  A University of Minnesota study followed children over a 20-year period and found that the best indicator of success related to school, a job, and a relationship was related to whether or not the young adult was asked to complete chores at an early age.  Many times as early as age 3 or 4.

According to a long-running study of inner-city males by Harvard University, the best predictor of mental health in adulthood was the willingness and ability to work in childhood.  That work ethic was a better predictor than the young man’s family problems or social class.

So how do you determine what chores are appropriate in your child’s already busy life?  First, decide what chores your child is capable of doing.  For example, even a 3 or 4-year-old can help make their bed every morning.  Older children can learn to put away groceries, do dishes, vacuum, do laundry or a variety of other household chores.  It is essential to understand your child’s capability.

When giving a young child a task to do, you need to accept it may not be perfect.  Work with the child to build their confidence in completing the task.  This teaches children not to give up because something is hard.  Encourage them to keep trying and praise them for what the accomplish.

age-appropriate activities

Additional Ideas

Chore Ideas for ages:

  •  3-4: help make their bed, pick up toys before bed-time, or help put away laundry
  •  5-7: set the table, help carry groceries, match socks, feed a pet, or pick out clothes
  •  8-11: do dishes, rake leaves, put laundry away, or take out the trash
  •  12-14: Vacuum, clean bathrooms, prepare meals, or change sheets
  •  15-18: yard work, babysit, laundry, or shopping for the family


For additional ideas on age appropriate chores check out the list from the Focus on the Family.   Pick a task that is appropriate for your child.  Whether you decide to give an allowance or not to your child is your choice.  It is important for children to understand that not all chores result in money.  As an adult they will be expected to be able to care for themselves and work to have opportunities; not everything one does results in a paycheck, however, that doesn’t make it any less important to do.

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