Encouraging Responsibility in Kids

Making Responsibility Fun

Did you know that in Japan, most schools don’t employ janitors? It’s true! Rather than have someone clean up after them, students and teachers take 15 minutes to scrub the school themselves each day. The practice is called “souji,” and educators say it helps kids learn about responsibility.

By thinking of responsibility as “helping each other,” chores feel less like drudgery and more like teamwork. And when it comes to dinner, kids who help plan and cook their meals feel more invested in them. They’re more likely to eat what’s on their plates, and less likely to take future dinners for granted.

Our friends at  The Family Dinner Project put together four tips on how to encourage responsibility in kids.  Share your tips too!

  1. Set Age Appropriate Tasks: To avoid kids getting overwhelmed or discouraged, it’s important for them to feel like they’re actually helping. Have younger children empty the dishwasher or set the table. Older kids can plan and cook one meal a week.
  2. Establish Habits: Creating a routine helps kids weave chores into their daily lives, which means less of a battle each time something needs to be done. If kids know that they’re expected to dry the dishes or water the plants, responsibility becomes a given.
  3. Use a Chore Wheel: Chore wheels are a great way to establish routine without creating boredom. Spin the wheel to assign different chores to family members. For ideas on making one, check out our chore wheel activity below.
  4. Make it About Helping Others: Putting the emphasis on helping others can make chores more exciting. For example, during a recent snowstorm, one parent suggested that her boys sneak into the yard of their older neighbors and shovel their walk for them. The boys had a blast and the neighbors were thrilled.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Sean Dreilinger]

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