Don't forget consistency
when teaching responsibility

start with these six suggestions:

Consistency is the key – you hear it all the time, right? As if that's easy to accomplish. Believe me, it's not. But if I can be consistent teaching responsibility to kids, you can, too. Here are six tips to help everyone stick to it:

    1. Give your child reasons to want to stick to it.

    Teaching responsibility is easier if kids see what's in it for them. Tie fun or desirable things to the completion of each checklist: “We'll have dessert when your after-dinner checklist is done.” These “enforceable consequences.” are another tenant of the Love and Logic program.

    2. Remember that the ultimate reward is time with you.

    The goal isn't just to get some help with your household chores – it's also to free up more time that can be spent together with your family. Some of the fun, desirable things that come after chores should be whatever you and your child love doing together.

    3. Respect your own time.

    If the bedtime routine (which is when we do the reward charts in our family) takes too long, you're not going to want to stick to it. Consider having a hard bedtime: if kids are done with chores before a certain time, “I'll have time to read to you – but after that, I'm taking a bath and reading.” That way it's up to them to hustle.

    4. Give them tools to help them (and you) remember the routine.

    Communicate your expectations clearly—that's what the chore charts and other checklists are for.

    5. Identify and eliminate your own distractions.

    My main distraction is the computer. I have the power to let it derail my evening entirely. In my case, if the computer is OFF, I know I'm not tempted to sit down “just for a minute.” So do your best to turn off the tv, the computer, your phone, and stay on task.

    6. Do your work when they're doing theirs.A powerful motivator is for the family to work together when you're teaching responsibility to kids. It also keeps you engaged and available. You might even find it useful to set up checklists of your own to work through while the kids are doing theirs – it's great modeling and leaves you free to do other stuff when the checklist is complete.

    7. Get your spouse on board.

    Find time to talk together to share ideas and goals regarding family chores and teaching responsibility. Your partner might have great ideas and insights. It behooves you to include and involve him (or her) so when you approach the kids you're a team.

They say that it takes at least 21 days to make a habit, so that's your challenge. Consistency is your ticket to success with these systems.

Return to Chore Charts from Consistency