Monday, August 19, 2013

FOUR Easy Steps To Teach Your Kids Responsibilities

I don't always have a ton of extra patience. 

Thankfully my husband does.

Early on in our family's transition Sam decided to teach the kids how to do certain responsibilities around the house (even though we had already talked about it, I thought he was crazy!) I was still struggling to get the kids to stay in time-out, how were they going to be able to do a task that I wasn't going to have to monitor every time?!?

For the tasks at hand this mainly involved our two oldest kids who at the time were 6 & 8. His mission was to start with teaching them two responsibilities that they would take turns doing for a week at a time. One task was wiping the table after a meal & sweeping the floor and the other was cleaning the bathroom (this sounded like HEAVEN...but I wasn't convinced.)

Over the course of one week he taught them one on one so that they knew exactly what they were suppose to do.

teach your child how to clean the bathroom

Then, over the course of a few months we worked on having a good attitude while doing their one daily responsibility. More on that another time...

teach your child how to sweep the floor

Don't get me wrong, there were tears cried and many moments without happy hearts. However, now over a year later, I am SO THANKFUL that we (ok, Sam!) took the time to teach them simple skills and set clear responsibilities.

It is a huge blessing and they are learning what it means to be a contributing member of the family.

Here are the steps that Sam took to individually teach our kids how to do each task. He learned this while studying organizational leadership and has used these steps in leadership development...AND to teach our kids how to clean the bathroom sink. Who says that you can't make use of any of the things that you learned in school?!? ;-)

Step 1. I do, you watch
Have your child watch you do every step of the process and talk through what you are doing and why it is important.

Step 2. I do, you help
You do the task and give your child things to do and guide them as they do it by encouraging what they do right and redirecting what is done wrong. Each time giving them more & more responsibility for the job. This step takes at least 2 or 3 times of having them be your helper.

Step 3. You do, I help
At this point you've gradually given them more responsibility every time so by now you begin to move to being the helper. You fill in whatever they might be missing and continue to praise them for all of the things that they are doing right. Again, this only takes a few times depending on the activity and the child.

Step 4. You do, I watch
Finally, let your child do the task and provide encouragement and check in on them to see how they have done. This may take several weeks of being actively involved in checking in on them and their work depending on the activity and the child's willingness to be responsible for it.

With some work on the front end, we now have two kids that know how to clean the bathroom...

four steps to teach your kids responsibilites

wipe the table...

easy steps to teach your child how to wipe the table

and sweep the floor...

teach your child how to sweep

We may not mop very often but the floors are swept after every meal. Which is a good thing since after every meal this is what our pile looks like and I'm pretty sure that stepping on a piece of Mac & Cheese is the worse thing ever...or a grape for that matter.

sweeping after every meal

By the time the kids have the table cleaned and the floor swept I usually have the dishes done and we're on to our next adventure! :-)

I know it seems at times that we will always be battling our kids on being responsible, but that doesn't have to always be the case. You can walk your kids through these four simple steps on any responsibility or task that you're trying to teach them. So far we've found that it's best to take the time to teach the right way, instead of just throwing them into the water and hoping that they swim. Just be consistent and you never know what you might find happens along the way. You may find out that the time invested in training someone multiplies when you realize that they are teaching their siblings how to do it by walking them through these four simple steps too!

I just might be eating my words right now for telling Sam at the time that he was crazy and that we needed to wait until things calmed down before starting this! Now I've realized that it's never too young to begin giving kids small responsibilities so that they can grow into responsible older kids and become responsible adults.

Do your kids have certain responsibilities that they do around the house? Do they have ones that they love...ones that they would easily trade? :-)

Want to stay connected? Check out these great ways!


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Sharing this at:


  1. love this!! i'll keep this in my back pocket for later;)!

  2. This is great advice! I really have to fight off the urge to do it myself instead of teaching my kids how to do it. Pinning this now!
    I'm stopping by from Inspire Me Please (#16 How To Clean Outdoor Toys)

  3. This is brilliant, I admire you so much for it. I only have two children - a bit older than yours - and they do so little around the house, to my shame. I have bookmarked this to start planning, thank you!

    1. Rosie,

      There is no better time to start than the present. I'm just glad that my husband convinced me that we should do this. :-)


  4. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this and with the numbering system! My kids do a lot but I realize I rarely go through all the steps which makes for more whining (from me) than there should be. Thanks a bunch, am saving and sharing.

    1. You are so very welcome Nevyn! :-)


  5. I love this!! I tried this technique with my son, but had never seen it in writing. He doesn't like the "I do it, you watch me" stage, but he loves the "he does it, I watch him" stage. So our learning is taking a bit longer because I am having to let him learn on his own and subtly correcting him in order to keep happy hearts. Last weekend I let him run the stick vac by himself and had to make him do a couple of spots over because he had obviously missed them. I then found a couple other missed spots with my bare feet. I just let him know that "next weekend he will have to go a bit slower and do a better job" but I didn't make him pull the vacuum out and do it over right then.

    1. Awesome takes time but he'll have it down in no time! :-)



Thank you for commenting, I read every single one. Because spam is so prevalent I moderate all comments. I also will delete any that are inappropriate or hurtful. All other comments will be approved and published in between me chasing around my five little tornadoes! For any specific questions feel free to email me at Thanks for reading and following along!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...