Thursday, September 20, 2012

How Do You...Establish Responsibility in Young Children?

How do you get young children to take responsibility for their chores and school work on their own?

A real goal of our household this year is to establish  responsibility in our older children.  I am tired of reminding everyone of everything they need to do...and because I do have to remind them, they don't even try to remember on their own.  It's a vicious cycle! 

At the beginning of August, I made a very simple chart for the boys' room and another for the girls' room that lays out a basic outline of our morning.  I hung the charts on their closet doors where they were sure to be seen every morning.  Each chart makes the expectations clear and we're already reaping the benefits.  Even Benjamin who won't be 4 until next month will look at the chart and do his routine without being told.  

the boys' chart

To make it easy on the non-readers, I included pictures as a visual reminder.  In the above chart, Gavin has the light gray shaded box.  He rotates dog duty with Maddie so one week he does the chores in the left column and the next week, he performs the chores in the right column.  Owen has the dark gray shaded box to himself.  Ben either helps me with my morning chores or entertains Alaine. 

the girls' chart

Establishing responsibility first thing in the morning is helping to carry it into the rest of the day, too. 

(Note: These charts do not include the daily chores that occur after school hours, such as helping with laundry, setting and clearing the table, or straightening the living room.  We tend to those chores as a group, and therefore don't need a separate chart or reminder .)


How do you train your children to be responsible?  Let us know in the comments. 

Also, if you have a question for a future "How Do You...?" post, share that in the comments, too, or send me an e-mail! I'd love to hear from you. 


  1. We started a similar system this summer. The kids call it their morning work.

    I made a chart with pictures of all the things we need to do upstairs before coming down for breakfast. So far, it's been working well.

  2. When the kids were younger I used the "5 Finger" system. I drew a hand on a paper and each finger had an assigned task and picture. Wash hands, brush teeth, make bed, get dressed, etc. A dear friend used that system and it worked so well for her I just had to try it. She got the suggestion from 401 Ways to Get Your Kids to Work Around the House. Great book!!! Then when they came down to start the day instead of going through each task I could just say did you do your "5 Fingers"??? We don't really use that anymore although recently I've thought about implementing it again since Kylie is still young and Garrett will be joining the ranks soon!!


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