Character How to Teach Your Five-Year-Old Responsibility

Responsibility means being dependable, making good choices, and taking accountability for your actions. A responsible citizen looks out for the well being of others and understands we all have a part to play in making the world a better place. For a five-year-old, responsibility might look like getting themselves ready for school in the morning, helping with specific household chores, or helping care for a pet – in other words, age-appropriate tasks that contribute to the well-being of their family. 

Encourage your child to become a responsible helper:

Give Children Age-Appropriate Responsibilities

Kids as young as two can be "clean-up helpers," putting toys back into a bin or bringing you books to put back on the shelf. Using a simple phrase ("Clean-up time!") or song can help prompt children. Household jobs provide a great way to celebrate kids' growing abilities. For example, a two-year-old might be able to help you pull clothes out of the dryer, a three-year-old might sort clean laundry into piles by type and a four-year-old might fold their own pile and then put clothes away in the right drawers. Each time a child acquires a new skill, it's a chance to remind them that they are growing up: "When you were three, I helped you put napkins and silverware on the table. But now that you are five, you know how to set whole the table all by yourself!"

Make a Bedtime Routine Book

Using photographs or pictures cut from magazines, you and your child can create a book that shows what tasks your child can do to clean up and get ready for bed.

Play This Game

Encourage Your Child to "Be a Helper"

According to research, children who were asked to be "helpers" were significantly more responsive to requests than those who simply asked to "help." In other words, asking children, "Will you be a helper and clean up this room? " is more motivating to them than being told "Help clean up the room." Why? Children want to be viewed as helpers — it's an appealing idea nurtures their sense of independence and responsibility. 

Build Good Character Skills with Arthur

Whether facing down a bully, worrying about a new teacher or being the very last person on earth to lose his baby teeth, Arthur and his friends manage to solve their crises with imagination, kindness and a lot of humor.

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Activity Finder: Learn With Your Five-Year-Old

Explore our Age-by-Age Guide: