Creative Child

Responsibilities: Why They’re Important to Your Child’s Happiness

by Deborah Song

People have an innate need to feel needed. Kids are no different. According to Bob Murray, PhD, author of Raising an Optimistic Child: A Proven Plan for Depression-Proofing Young children, "Happiness depends largely on the feeling that what we do matters and is valued by others.”


Assigning responsibilities to your child is a great way to convey that she is making a unique contribution to the family. Children as young as 3 years old can play meaningful roles. Even though putting your child in charge of something may end up feeling like more work, you are teaching them how to contribute, which enhances their self-worth.

If possible, assign a role that plays to your child’s strengths. I have a child who loves to wipe things down. So she helps me wipe down water around the bathtub after a bath or wipe the table down before dinner. Whatever the task you decide to assign, the important thing is to make sure to reinforce how their contribution is helping you and the family out. To keep things interesting, you can rotate responsibilities or have them pick a new one each week. Assigning a creative title to the responsibility, like light monitor, can make them feel official. And as far as it can be helped, try not to redo the work they’ve done, which sends the message that their efforts aren’t good enough. Here are some ways your child can help around the house.

16 Ways Your Child Can Help Around the House on page 2...

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