Inspiring Independence – 6 Ways to Encourage Responsibility in Kids

From the day their children are born, parents spend every waking moment nurturing them to one day let them soar on their own. Unfortunately, many of them end up in college with no exposure to the life lessons that would have helped them get a head start in the matter. As the mom of a pre-teen, I’m always looking for unique opportunities to ensure my daughter is a responsible, self-aware, and mature individual.

Independent kids become reliable adults. Below are six ways to inspire independence and encourage responsibility in kids.

Assign age-appropriate chores

As soon as my daughter was old enough to understand basic instructions, my husband and I introduced basic chores that allowed her to build a routine and take charge of specific tasks. Assigning chores can help kids take ownership of duties around the house and follow a schedule daily.

Let kids contribute

If you’re as impatient as I am, you likely tackle all the tasks because it’s more time-efficient than asking your child to do it. While it might save you 3 minutes to set the table yourself, you’re denying your kids the opportunity to gain valuable skills and work ethic. Like chores, make sure that you let kids contribute to tasks appropriate for their age.

Maybe they’re not old enough to cut vegetables for dinner, but they might be old enough to load the dishwasher with any plastic tableware.    

Set a good example

One of the easiest and most effective ways to encourage responsibility in kids is to lead by example. You can go on and on about how important it is to be kind to others, but if your child witnesses too many examples of rude behavior, they’re more likely to mirror that conduct. Remember, growing minds are like sponges. They absorb everything, especially behaviors modeled for them at home. 

Allow kids to make (and spend) money

Like spanking, allowance is a sensitive subject in the parenting world. While some parents believe children shouldn’t get compensated for simply pitching in, others disagree. Regardless of your stance, budgeting can help kids nurture a strong relationship with money. It helps teach kids that there is no endless pool of money and that spending your money on something means not always being able to afford something else.

Teach and enforce accountability

Taking ownership of your actions isn’t easy, especially when it could lead to scary consequences. When a child understands that their actions have reactions, they’re more likely to commit to the tasks at hand. This skill will play a critical role as they transition into their teen years and adulthood.

Avoid helicopter parenting

Do you try to monitor and control your child’s every move? You might have fallen victim to helicopter parenting. The term refers to parents who “hover” over their kids and oversee their every move. While you might think you’re doing them a favor by protecting them, you could be doing them a disservice by depriving them of the opportunity to learn and grow. Let them try and fail.

You’ll quickly realize that those shortcomings will mold them into responsible individuals.