Responsibilities, Responsibilities… Responsibilities

Kids need responsibilities. Even an 18-month-old can have a responsibility. He or she can throw their own diaper away… Yep, an 18-month-old sure can do that!
Assigning responsibilities to children helps them develop very important life-skills. Being responsible for something outside of them self will help your child develop time management, self-discipline, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-reliance, new skills, and of course, responsibility. Children also learn choices and consequences when they are responsible for something outside of themselves.
In fact, studies show that kids who have responsibilities, such as household chores, have higher self-esteem, self-confidence, self-discipline, and are more responsible. Assigning chores and duties will also give children the chance to play an important role in the family and household functioning.
1. Do not use chores as punishment. This will put a negative spin on a positive behavior; and always be positive about each opportunity your child has to be responsible.
2. Do not use external rewards to motivate your child to complete assigned chores. This can negatively affect their natural desire to be helpful. Instead, show appreciation and give praise for a job well done.
3. Do not overload your child with responsibilities, chores and duties. Make sure that you don’t go overboard with the responsibilities. If your child has so many responsibilities, chores, and duties that he/she cannot participate in any age appropriate extra-curricular activities, then you’ve gone too far.
4. Do not assign a chore or responsibility that is inappropriate to a child. Ask yourself,
1. Is it age appropriate? If the answer is no, then don’t assign this.
2. Is this something that only a parent or adult should be doing? If the answer is yes, then don’t assign this duty to your child.
Remember, it is not your child’s responsibility to be the assistant parent. Make sure that you are thoughtful and consistent when assigning responsibilities to your kids, so that your child does not miss-out on parts of his/her childhood or grow up too fast.

By: Amber C. Gardner, MA, LPC, NCC

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