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5 Simple Ideas to Teach Your Kids Responsibility

Nurture confidence and self-reliance during the summer break

Writer author Allison Holm and family on a ferry in Puget Sound

Published on: June 15, 2018

girl washing car

Encouraging responsibility in kids has many benefits, from nurturing confidence and teaching empathy to instilling work ethic and a sense of purpose. Whether you want to pay your kids or not, creating opportunities for them to do chores can be an important investment with a big payoff.

Here are five ideas to incorporate responsibility into your summer break.

Summer-ize your chore chart

Shake up your kiddos’ regular routine with a few summer-specific jobs that complement the warmer weather.

Little green thumbs: Plant some seeds of responsibility. Have your kiddos help water and weed the garden while learning about different plants and bugs. Or devote a section of garden to your mini green thumb that he or she could be responsible for. They may even grow a new respect for vegetables!

Rinse and repeat: Turn their hot wheels car wash into the real deal by having your kids help deep clean the family vehicle. Duties could include decluttering, vacuuming and soaping up the car.

Get packing: Summer brings a whole slew of day camp snacks, picnic lunches and on-the-go meals. Make a mini chef out of your munchkin and offer them the position of lunch-packer. This could be an opportunity to encourage healthy food choices (and you may have a pro by the time school starts)!

Make a chore cubby

Create a designated space for your child’s favorite duty. A “garden cubby” could house garden gloves, a watering can, seed packets and a shovel. A “set-the-table caddy” could carry placemats, flatware pieces and even hand-drawn personalized place settings. Break out the markers and get creative; having a customizable space for their chore “tools” encourages ownership and a sense of pride.

Party planning 101

Summer calls for backyard picnics and camp-outs. Have your pint-sized party planners decide on dinner and create mini menus for each family member. Depending on age, kiddos could prepare the meal, serve food or clear dishes. Consider letting each child choose an activity to organize, like a backyard game, s’mores cookout or an after-dinner story hour.  

Entrepreneur kids

Spark your child's inner entrepreneur by helping them set up a lemonade stand. Duties could include anything from drawing signs and pouring lemonade to making change for the customers. Proceeds could go to a charity of their choice. Or take the opportunity to declutter and plan a yard sale. Kids can choose which items they’d like to include, and even set their own (reasonable) prices.

Summertime storytime

While summer reading is anything but a chore, consider setting up an “incentive” program in which your little bookworms choose a number of titles to read during summer. Older siblings could be responsible for helping younger ones choose a book and read them. A “reward” or goal could be anything from a family outing or a trip to the library to choose a new book. 

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