Responsibility means being dependable, making good choices, and taking accountability for your actions. A responsible citizen looks out for the well being of others and understands we all have a part to play in making the world a better place. For a four-year-old, responsibility might look like picking up their toys, clearing their dinner plate, or helping sort the laundry — simple tasks that they can take on to contribute to their family.
Give Children Age-Appropriate Responsibilities
Kids as young as two can be "clean-up helpers," putting toys back into a bin or bringing you books to put back on the shelf. Using a simple phrase ("Clean-up time!") or song can help prompt children. Household jobs provide a great way to celebrate kids' growing abilities. For example, a two-year-old might be able to help you pull clothes out of the dryer, a three-year-old might sort clean laundry into piles by type and a four-year-old might fold their own pile and then put clothes away in the right drawers. Each time a child acquires a new skill, it's a chance to remind them that they are growing up: "When you were three, I helped you put napkins and silverware on the table. But now that you are five, you know how to set the whole table all by yourself!"
Encourage Your Child to "Be a Helper"
According to research, children who were asked to be "helpers" were significantly more responsive to requests than those who simply asked to "help." In other words, asking children, "Will you be a helper and clean up this room?" is more motivating to them than being told "Help clean up the room." Why? Children want to be viewed as helpers — it's an appealing idea that nurtures their sense of independence and responsibility.