Tag Archive | responsibility

Keeping up the Good Work

Today’s post is about purposeful and meaningful work for children.  What qualifies as meaningful work for children?  How will your tot benefit by engaging in these types of activities? How can you incorporate meaningful work for your child into daily life?

Here’s one activity we did today from the Leaping Lilies curriculum

 This week’s Theme: Bed Time

Activity DescriptionChores: Teach your tot how to make his/her bed.  Make it his/her responsibility each day.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Emotional Learning

Specific Skill: Doing ‘real’ work

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years + 5 months


  • What is meant by real work?

– It’s Not Pretend: Real, meaningful work for children is not the kind where you are sweeping and your little one is sweeping beside you with a toy version of a broom.  It’s not when you give your tot a menial ‘task’ to keep him occupied while you actually do the ‘real’ work.  Real work is completing jobs that are useful and actually need to get done.

– It’s Done Independently: While it may be necessary to help and guide the first couple of times a job is attempted, eventually real work is something your tot can do independently.  However, even though your tot is doing things independently, this doesn’t mean that you can’t work together.  Take gardening as an example.  You can be gardening together, but you are not standing over your tot saying what needs to be done.  Your tot has a meaningful job in the garden (a job that needs doing) and she does it (while you are also in the garden doing your job).  It could even be the same job (like watering) but you are not holding the watering can together.  Your tot has a watering can and is responsible for a certain portion of the garden while you have your watering can, watering another portion of the garden.  Thus, you are working together, but also independently.

– It Benefits Others: Real and meaningful work for children is not simply done for reward or personal gain, it affects and/or helps others.  It’s not something like cleaning up toys to earn a sticker or a ‘plus’ on the reward chart.  We can use gardening again as an example where many people would benefit from their work.  (Children who consistently engage in this kind of work continue to be of benefit to their families and communities throughout their lives because they have experienced and realized the importance and joy of benefiting others, rather than only themselves.)


  • How can doing ‘real’ work benefit my child?

– A Sense of Purpose: Engaging in useful work provides a sense of purpose and pride (the same goes for adults!). Your children will  feel productive and see that they are a valuable and contributing member of your family.

– Overcoming Obstacles: Challenging  your children with meaningful work provides you with an opportunity to encourage them to persevere through difficulties, instilling in them a feeling of achievement.  By providing an opportunity to achieve something more difficult, you can raise their self-esteem in a very concrete way.  They will realize, through action, what they are capable of.


  • What kinds of work?

The types of meaningful work for children is varied and really depends on the age of your child and your family circumstances.  For very young children (like mine) it could be simple chores. For school aged children perhaps things like cooking and gardening.  For teens it could be house repairs/maintenance or even paid employment.  In all cases, the work should be safe (or in the case of older children, they should know what the safety concerns are, how to avoid accidents and what to do if an accident occurs).


  • M making her bed – The girls really enjoy doing this and I am often surprised by how much attention to detail there is. It was  a bit slow today but M got there in the end (with a bit of grunting to help her through the more difficult parts!)


Looking for emotional learning activities for 15-18 months?  Click here!

Looking for emotional learning activities for 18-24 months?  Click here!

Looking for more emotional learning activities for 24-30 months?  Click here! 


Neat & Tidy

Toddlers are at a perfect age to begin practising responsibility because they love to help you and mimic what you do.  A very simple way to get started (and make your life a little easier) is to begin by encouraging your baby to clean up toys independently.  Now is a great time to start putting one toy away before getting out another and making sure all is tidy at the end of the day.  Here are some tricks and tips to making toy clean-up simpler…..

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: African Animals

Activity DescriptionClean Up: After play time or doing an activity, encourage your baby to clean up independently.  Ensure it is easily done and do this daily.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Emotional

Specific Skill: Being responsible

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 22 months + 2 weeks

1. The only warm-up to this activity is playing!!  This evening the girls had mainly two sets of toys out: puzzles and music toys.  When it was time for the bath, I asked them to clean up.  I don’t help them but I encourage them with praise and say things like, “I see one under the chair! Who can help get it?”



O gets started on the puzzles

O gets started on the puzzles

M helps with the music toys

M helps with the music toys













How can I get my baby to clean-up the toy mess?

  • Make it part of your daily routine
  • Add an audio cue (sing a clean-up song, ring a bell, etc.)
  • Ensure that it is easy for your baby to put away the toys (Can your baby easily access the toy bins?)
  • Allow ample time for clean-up.  If you start clean-up five minutes before you need to leave, you’ll probably end up frustrated at the pace and manner which your baby cleans!
  • Praise your baby’s efforts to clean-up the toys (If you have a reward chart, include clean-up)
  • Toddlers love to help so say things like, “Can you help me?” OR “Who can help put these toys away?” OR “What a great helper!”….you get the idea…
  • Toddlers love to play games so try saying things like, “Can you be a lion who cleans up?” or you can be the ‘goalie’ guarding the toy bin and they have to get by you to put away the toys… be creative!
  • Don’t expect perfection.  Your baby’s thought process, effort and improvement in clean-up skills are most valuable so remember to complement and encourage those things, not just completion of the task.

What are the benefits of encouraging responsibility in young children?

  • Aids in teaching time-management skills
  • Makes daily routines simpler and smoother for everybody
  • Encourages independent thinking
  • Encourages problem solving
  • Encourages focus & concentration
  • Increases self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Allows for meaningful contribution to the family and eventually society


Click here to see a helpful post about the benefits of rotating your baby’s toys


This post was based on an activity included in the Reaching Roses curriculum.  Click here to learn more!