7 Habits That Raise Responsible Kids

At the heart of any parent’s goal is the desire to raise responsible kids. It has a ripple effect of creating a world where everyone makes a positive impact on the world in which they live. So is there a trick to raising kids to be more responsible? Responsibility starts by showing kids how joyful it is, rather than a chore or burden. Rather than teaching kids how to be responsible, you encourage them to contribute in positive ways so they want to live their lives in impactful ways. And it starts with habits. Here are the habits that help raise responsible kids.


Always clean up your messes

Don’t sweat the spilled milk, but when it does happen, encourage your child to clean up her mess. Even if it takes her longer than it would you, let her do it. If you aren’t judgmental about it and instead take a positive and cheery tone, she’ll want to help every time.

Contribute positively to the world

Remember that the behaviors you focus on and acknowledge, those are the ones that will grow. If she’s kind, comment on how much you love that about her. Or if she’s displaying creativity, express your enthusiasm. As kids get older, they’ll want to contribute to their own self-care but the overall household needs as well.

Let children “do it myself” even when it’s more work

Toddlers love to please and this is a lesson in teaching her to discover that satisfaction in contributing. It’s always going to be more work for you but that’s really not the point. Reframe the overall goal. It’s way more important to bond and motivate kids to keep contributing than it is to finish the job quickly.

Demonstrate routines and structure

By providing routine and structure to your children, it helps them learn how to manage themselves. Through repetition, they learn basic life skills which sets them up for successful habits later on like studying and grooming. You can also encourage your child to do the thinking herself. “What’s the next thing you need to do to get ready?” This will help her stay focused on her list and routine tasks.

Teach them to be responsible for their actions toward others

Forcing children to apologize when they don’t mean it is pointless. Try having a “time in” and let your child work through the emotions that caused her to act out in the first place. Once she feels better, give her the opportunity to think of ways to make the situation better. It teaches children that if they treat others poorly, there’s a price to pay and they need to be responsible for the fallout. When you don’t force her to choose how to repair it, she’ll feel good about her decision and want to repeat it.

Don’t rush to bail her out of a difficult situation

The best habits that raise responsible kids let them handle problems themselves. You can be available for problem solving and working through feelings and emotions but don’t rush in to diffuse the situation.

Be a good example of responsibility and accountability

If you’re trying to teach an important lesson but you cut corners yourself, or display the very behavior you’re teaching against, it’s a huge disconnect for children. Be a good example and model the same behavior you’re talking to them about. Keep promises and don’t make excuses. If you don’t follow through, how can you expect your child to?

The best parents strive to raise kids to be the best possible version of themselves. Your children have no other obligation than to bring their own unique light to the world, whatever that may be. Your job is getting them to realize it’s ok to be different and stand out. That’s the best kind of kid.

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