No More Chores for Kids. Introduce New Responsibilities.

responsibilities not chores for kids

Age: 1+

Time: 20 minutes

Materials: none

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Focus: Develop life skills

Rethinking Chores for Kids

Responsibility is a life skill. It’s one of those things that makes independence realistic for our children.

This challenge and our supporting guide aren’t just about coming up with more chores for kids.

They’re about helping you, the family leader, reach a place with your children where they understand how their contribution to maintaining a healthy and happy home is vital to everyone’s happiness. 

As a result, there are a couple of goals we’re reaching for in this week’s challenge. One of them is simply to find a new way to have our children become responsible for something that supports the whole family.

Another goal is to remind ourselves just how skillful and thoughtful even very young children can be if given the opportunity.

You’re also:

  • teaching life skills
  • potentially sharing stories about your responsibilities growing up
  • supporting their sense of pride and accomplishment in developing a new skill
  • explicitly communicating your values around whatever task is chosen
  • strengthening your bond by creating memories over an activity
  • being proactive in your parenting regarding rules of the home and the scope of things that need to get done
  • fostering a positive attitude around helping the family stay tidy and run smoothly rather than using “chores” as a form of punishment

If you have young children, give them a few options to choose from. If you have older children, let them come up with the idea independently. As long as their choice is something they can eventually do safely and independently, it’s a win-win!

How to Introduce New Responsibilities

Help your child pick one new thing they want to be responsible for around the house.

Spend the next few days/weeks/months (depending on your child’s age) training them how to do the task properly so they feel confident they can do it successfully on their own (or with minimal supervision).

Opportunities range from simply putting dirty clothes in the hamper (age 2+) to putting away silverware from the dishwasher (age 3+) to anything you feel appropriate! The time you spend together learning should be fun and engaging.

Children want to feel needed and part of the family team.

Bonus Family Benefits to Teaching Responsibility

It’s important to remember that learning responsibility takes time and a lot of effort from both parent and child. The process will evolve over time as children mature and gain more awareness and capability.

Overall, there are a number of benefits to framing a child’s family contribution as learning and engaging in a new responsibility rather than assigning more chores for your kids. Some of those include the opportunity to 

  • share family values;
  • spend less time and money looking for or replacing items because they weren’t put away or cared for;
  • discouraging a sense of entitlement;
  • having everyone in the family feel more satisfaction with the possessions already owned.

Need Ideas?

Download our premium guide below for FREE! Inside you’ll find suggestions and checklists for age-appropriate tasks from 2-18 years old. 

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Somer Loomis

Somer is the Chief Content Officer at Raising Families living in Southern California with her husband and five-year-old son. She spent 10 years in the architecture field as a designer and medical planner and now applies her love of integrative thinking and big-picture planning to her family and career. Read full bio >>

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