Give each child specific responsibilities to help the family
Every child ought to have basic responsibilities. It can be as easy as emptying the bathroom trash to taking all of the household trash to the curb. Even very young children can pick up the toys after playing or help put up groceries. As children grow give them more trust and responsibility.
Ask your kids to pitch in small ways every day
Just because children are “busy” on devices or watching TV does not mean they cannot get up to get something for you or help with a quick task. Sometimes it is easier to do it yourself but children will never learn to help in productive ways if you do not take the time to involve them. They can unload dishwashers and dryers, they can replace toilet paper, or set the table at a moment’s notice.
Set expectations for rooms to be kept up at some level
Kids at different ages can handle different responsibilities. What is difficult is to raise a kid that learns to keep a room clean and THEN they become teenagers and seem to forget everything. Choose your battles but fight on. Expect a certain level of tidiness and communicate those (without nagging) on a regular basis.
Expect a certain level of care for their toys and belongings
Your children need to learn to take care of their things. Kids can learn not to leave things in the yard, not to throw toys off of the balcony, and to not put the tablet in the toilet. Teach your child how to care whatever belongs to them and how to take pride in caring for their own things.
Model responsible behavior to them regularly
It does not teach responsibility if you tell your children to do chores while you sit around. It just teaches them to look forward to enslaving their own children! Make them a part of your work and do the work that is needed around your house. Children will remember your modeling long after they forget what you told them. Pass down your methods of cleaning and care for your household and family.
Talk about being responsible to and for those around them
It is not punishment to help a parent or sibling. Make sure your children understand that responsible people look out for those around them. Teach them to open doors for folks. Teach them to allow others to go first. Show them how to respect both family members and strangers. Explain that sometimes we do things not as much for us but to help others that may come along after us.
Talk about being responsible as a character trait not just an action
Do not treat the act of being responsible as a chore. Tell your children that you expect them to grow up to be a responsible adult and communicate what that looks like with words and actions.
Praise them but don’t reward them
Children should know that they are doing well but they should not get paid to do so. Praise is a good motivator but it should not be necessary to get your children to act appropriately. There is nothing wrong with an allowance but do not use it to bargain to have children do what should be expected as a part of the family.
Build an environment where it is EASIER to be responsible
It is hard for children to put things “up” if there is no “up. Make sure that your house is organized in such a way that being responsible is part of the family structure. By using routines and a place for things to be then children can more readily learn to handle responsibilities. If your things are cared for then they will know how to do it as well.
Allow for natural consequences
If toys are left in the yard they get taken, chewed up, or wet. Do not always save your child from the consequences of their actions or inactions. If they are expected to put dirty clothes in the hamper then only wash the clothes in the hamper. Sooner or later they will run out of clean clothes and learn to put ALL of their clothes where they belong. Children should also learn to wash their own clothes prior to being a teenager. If children are always being “rescued” then they will not learn or be motivated to learn to be responsible.