Teaching Preschoolers Responsibility: Here’s What to Know

So, what does it take for a parent to teach responsibility to a preschooler kid? Read on to find out.

One of the most common responses parents give when asked what traits they would like their children to have when they become adults is “to be responsible.”

However, being responsible can mean a lot of things, including:

  • Being committed to one’s course
  • Being dependable
  • Doing one’s part of the deal
  • Accepting credit for good deeds and acknowledging mistakes
  • Contributing towards family or community projects

Whatever meaning the phrase ‘being responsible’ takes, every parent knows that responsibility makes children successful both in school and in the outside world.

So, what does it take for a parent to teach responsibility to a preschooler kid?

Assign Simple Tasks 

Allow your preschooler to help you with simple jobs at home, such as washing vegetables for dinner, setting the table, etc. By working together, your child will start developing a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Let Them Think for Themselves

It is common for children to rebel whenever they are told to do something, and this is where you need to change tactics to avoid a lot of resistance.

Kids will likely be motivated to do something when they feel like they have come up with the idea themselves. Therefore, instead of nagging them to do their weekly dusting chores or toy cleaning job, describe the problem and let them come up with a solution.

For example, if there are toys spread out all over the living room, you could say, “It’s almost bedtime, and I see toys all over the floor,” Or “I can see cake leftovers still on the dining tables today.”

If that doesn’t trigger your child to take some action, try to explain the problem further. For example, “If the toys are left lying on the floor, someone might step on them and get hurt.” Or, “the house will be full of bugs if cake leftovers stay on the dining table overnight.”

When you stop commanding your child to do something, you are more likely to get them to cooperate with you.

Provide Routines

Preschool years are crucial in children’s lives for several reasons, majorly because that’s where they learn and pick up simple habits and routines. That’s why, as a parent, you need to give your children repeated opportunities to manage themselves through repetitive tasks.

They need to have a bedtime routine, clean-up time, grooming routine, study routine, etc. Some of the routines you can introduce to instill a sense of responsibility and make them pick up good habits include setting a day for cleaning up toys, helping wash the dishes, feeding the dog, etc.

Make sure to collaborate with them in setting these tasks so they feel a part of the whole process.

Provide Necessary Tools to Support the New Routines

It might seem obvious, but your child needs tools to learn organization and self-discipline. Think of the responsibility you want your child to undertake – such as keeping their books and toys organized – and then find tools that will help them do these activities.

For example, you should provide an alarm clock to remind them of morning routines and organizational tools such as sticker boards and picture schedules.

Try to include your preschooler when making – or buying – the organizational tools so they can understand and take part in this change. You don’t want to appear as if you are imposing a new organization system into their routine without them having any say.

Praise Them for a Job Well-Done

Positive reinforcement demonstrates to preschoolers that their efforts are recognized and appreciated. To make your praises impactful as a parent, be specific. For example, instead of saying “well done,” say, “you did an awesome job of organizing your room today!”

This positive encouragement goes a long way in motivating your child to keep up with the good work.

Lead by Example

Modeling a behavior or responsibility you are enforcing yourself is perhaps the best way of teaching responsibility to preschoolers. When you walk your talk, your child is likely to follow suit.

The fact is that your child learns more through observation than listening. Therefore, if you want your preschooler to be responsible and improve their habits, you have to show the way.

Another way of leading by example is using inclusive phrases. For example, instead of saying, “it’s time to put the dirty dishes in the sink,” say, “now we put the dirty dishes in the sink.” This helps to show that everyone is responsible for doing the action.

Lead Your Preschooler to Responsibility

Even as a preschooler, kids can learn responsibility and accountability. Make sure to assign them simple tasks, establish solid routines, and lead by example. With these tricks, your little one will learn responsibility without even realizing it!


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