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As parents, we would naturally want our children to understand and learn responsibility from a young age, as this would help ensure that they are able to make decisions, be reliable and are independent. This ensures that they are able to grow to become independent and competent individuals in the future.

Furthermore, children who are taught about responsibility also benefit by further honing positive skill sets such as learning to work with others, which is a key trait to have for the working world, and understanding the consequences of their choices.

Teaching our children responsibility is a key lesson that we parents should inculcate, and for younger children, simple activities such as helping out with house chores would be a great start!

1. Start with the simple tasks

Based on a child’s age and development milestones, children from as young as three years of age can be given simple house chores, such as learning how to put their dirty clothes into the laundry basket. Older kids can help with hanging clothes out to dry or even folding them. When these tasks are carried out on a routine basis, they will eventually understand that these tasks will now be part of their daily routine.

2. Chores don’t have to boring!

Yes! Get creative! Explore interesting ways to make chore-time a fun-filled one which involves the family. For example, include your children to help bake or prepare for dinner. Involve your children with discussions such as agreeing to a few favourite meals for the rest of the week. Then, delegate the tasks to each family member so that every individual has a responsibility to fulfill. It doesn’t have to be tough work, setting the table, doing the dishes or even just sorting out the groceries is a great way to get them involved. Did you know that when children help out in the kitchen to make a dish, they are more likely to eat it too?

3. Set a schedule and give clear instructions

More often than not, children refuse to participate in chores as they are not familiar with how things are done at home. Thus, clear instructions will need to be given so that they know and understand what they have to do. Encourage them to communicate and seek clarifications too, as all these adds up to further improving their sense of responsibility. To get the kids accustomed to the routine, a simple family house chore to-do list can be put up at the refrigerator door or on a pin-up board. This keeps things in check and get them motivated to check off tasks at hand! In due time, they should be able to go “auto-pilot” and do not need repeated reminders.

4. Recognise their efforts

As children progress and learn to master each task or go about it on their own without much supervision, we as parents should also take the initiative to practice the act of praising. Showing our appreciation and acknowledgement of their efforts is key in keeping them motivated to maintain positive behaviour, and this also reassures them that they are on the right track. Be specific with your praise so that they know what they have done right and will continue to do so in the future.

It’s never too early or too late to get your children to help out around the house. Just get creative and help them understand how their contribution makes a difference!