It’s never too soon to teach your children about personal responsibility. You can begin as soon as your kids reach preschool age, which is often the ideal time to start. If you wait too long, your kids may not adapt as well to adult responsibilities, leading them to struggle throughout their lives. The following tips can help you get started, so your kids will be better prepared for the growing responsibilities of adolescence and adulthood.

Be a Good Role Model

When you have something you must do, such as doing household chores, make a point to show your children what you’re doing. It can help to use the royal “we” and get your kids to ensure they will learn that everyone has responsibilities. When you can show them that you’re doing things you don’t enjoy but must do, they’ll better understand when they’re in a similar situation.

Assign Chores to Your Kids

Once they begin to see that everyone has their responsibilities, you can reinforce that concept by assigning tasks to each of your kids. You can ask them to clean their rooms, bring their dirty clothes to the laundry room, or pick up their toys. After a few times of asking them to do the same things, your kids will begin to learn that these chores must be done every night.

Don’t Forget the Positive Reinforcement

Eventually, your children will have to learn to meet their responsibilities without the expectation of a reward. However, as young children, you should praise them for fulfilling your expectations. A small reward, such as a healthy snack or going to bed 15 minutes later, can help them learn the importance of following through with their responsibilities. While you don’t want to reward them every day, this positive reinforcement can make learning responsibility more enjoyable when given sparingly.

As you teach your children to be more responsible, keep in mind that they are children, and make mistakes. For example, when you ask them to clean their rooms, don’t expect their beds to look perfect. As long as they’re making an effort, they should be acknowledged for meeting their responsibilities. You are teaching them to properly make their beds can be a lesson for another day.