Want to Teach Your Kids Responsibility?

Posted September 4, 2018

When my children, Jason and Sara, were three and four years old, I realized early on the value of having a routine that incorporated chores. These tasks not only helped the kids feel a sense of safety and “family,” but they helped me. And hey, as a single mom, if it helped me, I was immediately all in! I think the old saying is true: Children who do too little have moms who do too much. Amen?

So why have daily chores? After doing my research, I was amazed at all the potential benefits. Just look what I found.

  • Chores boost self-esteem.
  • Chores instill the importance of completing an assigned task.
  • Chores give kids a sense of accomplishment.
  • Chores teach order, harmony, and organization. Children quickly learn that clutter fosters chaos.
  • Chores serve as the vehicle in establishing positive identification with the family unit.
  • Chores introduce the concept of teamwork.
  • Chores help kids to apply themselves even though they may not feel like it, which prepares them for the real world.
  • Chores allow the child to give back to the family and feel like a contributor.

And here’s the biggest benefit of all: Chores give us the opportunity to teach our children God’s Word and for them to practice these biblical principles.

  • Philippians 2:14 – “Do everything without grumbling and complaining.”  
  • Philippians 2:3-4 – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider the other person better than yourself. Each of you should look out not only for you own interest but the interests of others.”

How would you like it if your little ones carried out these scriptures?

So where do we start in assigning chores? Start when the kids are young. I had a friend once say that anything eye level and below is considered cleanable. Ha! I love that idea. They can learn at a young age that being a part of a family requires everyone “sizing up to their own age” and doing their part…everyone!

So what chores can each one do?

For toddlers(ages 2-3), the key word is movement: put toys in the toy box, put clothes in the dirty clothes hamper, wipe the cabinets and baseboards.

For Preschoolers (ages 4-5), the key word is helper: load the dishwasher, set the table, match socks.

For the Early Elementary (ages 6-8), the key word is responsibility: wash the vegetables, vacuum, take out the garbage, clean the toilets (they love that one!).

For the Upper Elementary (ages 9-11), the key word is individuality: make the bed, set the table, feed pets.

For the Middle Schooler (ages 12-14), the key word is independence. Clean your room with direction, mow the lawn, do the laundry on your own.

As a single parent carrying so much responsibility, why not put your little critters to work? One day they will have a household of their own. We can teach them the value of a routine around the house and that we all must work, but together we win.