How capable are your kids? No, we don’t mean in math or language ability. Can they change a light bulb or can they operate the vacuum cleaner? Do they know where the circuit breaker box is and how you can tell if a circuit has flipped?

True, as parents we are armed with nothing but good intentions. Does “Eat your breakfast”, brush your teeth”, or “Where are your shoes?” sound familiar? I know, I know, if you don’t make sure that the reading folder is in the school bag, well, it probably won’t be in the bag, right? Let’s face it, it’s much easier to do it ourselves, especially if we want it done. It just saves time… But…

Did you know that 28% of 22- to 29-year-olds rely on money from their parents to fund major expenses? They live at home and expect mom and dad to take care of them. They don’t feel responsible for paying the bills, especially if they have a job that doesn’t pay well. And why should they?

Thing is, when we as parents do the work and problem solve for our kids, essentially we are saying that they aren’t capable of doing it themselves. But, if we are intentional in our parenting, our kids have a better chance at growing up confident in their ability to take care of themselves. Isn’t that what we all really want for our kids?

Remember, quite frankly, being responsible is an adult thing and does not come naturally to kids. So, start young, boost their self-esteem and make sure they know that you believe in their abilities. Start early; think: toddler. And, set the bar high, don’t underestimate your kids, you might be surprised of what they’re capable of!

So, whether you’re a reformed “helicopter parent” or ready for your sweetie pie to get on the road to responsibility, check out these age appropriate life skills:

Ask toddlers to turn off the lights when they leave a room, or to put their toys away. When a spill occurs, instead of swooping in, hand your child a towel and help him/her to wipe up their own mess.

Ask pre-schoolers to set the table, feed the pet, clean their rooms and to always open and hold the door for others.

Kids aged 6 to 11 could be taught how to load the dishwasher, pack their own lunch or order for themselves at restaurants.

As from 12 years old a child should know how to replace a light bulb, mop a floor and when they’re unhappy with a product or service, be able to lodge a complaint respectfully.

These are just a few examples on how to teach our kids to be more responsible. Remember Mom and Dad; they are always watching so make sure to model responsible behaviour. “This spot is reserved for handicapped people, so of course we can’t take that spot.” Teach them to speak up for themselves and cultivate gratitude by frequently commenting on your own and your child’s blessings.

Also, make sure to pour on the praise! Whenever your child acts responsibly – even if he/she doesn’t succeed – value the effort and show appreciation.

“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.” - Ann Landers



DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.