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Helping Children Learn Responsibility

Adorable girl doing her homework

A big part of child care is seeing to their basic health and wellness, but just as important to us at Smart Kids Child Care is helping them grow as young people. Our daycare, after school and summer camp programs are designed to help kids develop both mentally and emotionally, all in a fun and safe environment where their parents are encouraged to be part of the process.

In fact, parents are often the most important people in this effort – especially in bringing along responsibility levels in young children, that always-elusive goal. Kids have to learn that their actions have results they may need to take ownership of, and how to do so in a positive and constructive way. Here are some tips for slowly bringing them along this process.

Modeling and Observation

As with many of their childhood development items, kids often learn best by seeing a good example in front of them. Telling them how to act is one thing, but letting them see exactly how it’s done is another.

There are simple themes to try and drive home here. If you make them a promise about an event or activity, follow through and remind them you’re doing so. If you’re demanding they keep their room clean, you’d better follow suit. Kids can spot hypocrisy even if they may not know the word, and they’ll subconsciously wonder why “responsibility” is different for you.

Gradual Learning

As you introduce new concepts of responsibility, understand that many of them will take some time. Children’s brains are still developing quickly at young ages, and they may only just be finding the capacity to understand many of the concepts you’re raising.

Many kindergarten-age children are able to dress themselves and make their beds; most elementary-school kids can shower, make their lunches and clean many areas of the house by themselves; most tweens and teens can do their own laundry, prepare home meals and babysit younger siblings. Introduce similar concepts at roughly this rate.


Consequences are nobody’s favorite, but there are times where there’s no other choice. These should be gradual, just like learning emphases – you can’t expect kids to get everything the first time, and therefore you can’t punish them every time if they don’t. However, once enough repetition of processes and concepts has been done, there’s a point at which continued disobedience may require a reaction.

Introducing these patterns gradually helps kids grow into the reality that as they get older, more will be expected of them. The sooner they grasp this overall concept, the easier the entire process will be.

Want to learn more about child development tactics, or interested in learning about any of our child care services? The educators at Smart Kids Child Care are standing by.