Pets Are Just One Way to Teach Your Kids Responsibility

For anyone who has kids, you know one of the most important things you need to do is teach them life lessons. They aren’t going to being living under your roof forever and when they finally leave the nest, you want them to have all of the tools that they need.

One such tool is responsibility. Kids needs to start learning responsibility from a young age so that they can carry this habit with them as they go forward. Children who do not learn responsibility are likely to depend on others their entire lives, or blame others when things go wrong. Luckily, you can avoid this with just a few simple methods. One of the best methods for teaching your children responsibility from a young age is getting a pet.

How Pets Can Teach Responsibility

Taking care of a pet is a lot of work. As the parent, you have enough on your plate without being the only person responsible for the pet. To take some of the load off of your shoulders, you can entrust some of the responsibility to your children.

For instance, you can make it your child’s job to walk your dog every day, or to make sure the fish get fed. Make sure that your child knows this is their responsibility, and that they need to take care of it every day. In the beginning you may need to remind them a bit, but once they form the habit of taking care of the pet, it should become more automatic.

Of course, they are still kids, so you’ll want to check up on their work. You don’t want to come home one day and realize that you need to clean up after your dog because your children forgot to take them for a walk. There’s going to be relapses, and your kids will forget to do things from time to time. When that happens, remind them of their job and get them back on the right track.

Other Methods for Teaching Responsibility

If you don’t want to entrust your dog or cat’s life to your young child, there are some other ways that you can teach them about responsibility. Here are just a few suggestions if you’re looking for a place to start:

  • Make Homework Only TheirJob– A lot of parents get involved with their kid’s homework. And while it’s good to help them out when they need it, you want to make sure they are taking responsibility for it themselves. Don’t remind them every day to do their homework – if they forget, they’ll face the consequences at school. After a few times of forgetting and receiving poor grades (or punishment at home), they’ll hopefully start to wise up and take more care to remember.
  • Chores Around the Home– Another great way to teach responsibility is to assign chores around the home. For example, it could be your kid’s job to put away the dishes from the dishwasher each night after dinner. Or, they could at least make sure their bed is made every morning before they go to school. Offer some rewards if they do the job (like an allowance) or set up a small punishment if they forget. Make sure you explain the importance of the job their doing and show your appreciation for them helping around the home.
  • Taking Care of Their Health– Finally, have your kids take responsibility for their own health. Once they leave home you won’t be able to badger them about eating right or exercising, so you need to enforce some good habits now. One small, but important, way you can do this is by letting your kids remember to brush their teeth. Tell them you won’t remind them anymore, and that if they get cavities it’s on them. According to Juban Cowen Dental Care“Brushing and flossing your teeth are an important part of maintaining your overall health not just your oral health”, so make sure your kids understand this when you are telling them why they need to take responsibility for this.

Let Your Kids Face Consequences

It’s tough, but sometimes you need to let your kids make mistakes and face consequences in order for them to learn. You don’t need to let it go too far to make a point (you don’t want your dog to die from starvation or your kids to fail out of school), but a few minor mistakes will go a long way. The only way we learn to take responsibility for our actions is when we see the negative consequences of what happens when we don’t.

Hopefully this guide was able to give you some ideas on how you can teach your kids responsibility, either through getting a pet or some other method. They may not like it now, but they’ll thank you for it in the long run.


  1. Great tips! We have a dog that my kids begged for and so they are responsible for it. We set up the rule that if they don’t take care of it, they lose the dog (my sister has agreed to take her in if that ever happens. Don’t just abandon your dog!) That has really inspired them to be responsible and make sure that their siblings are doing their part. They have worked out a chore chart among themselves, which is awesome. I only step in by calling the carpet cleaners if the dog has an accident and the kids’ scrubbing doesn’t get the smell out of my house. That doesn’t happen very often though, and they have become more responsible in other areas of their life as well. It’s been so beneficial for my family!

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