It’s amazing how fast kids grow! One day you are playing dolls with them and the next they want contacts and an email account. As my girls mature, they desire to have more privileges. Along with those privileges come additional responsibilities, just like the real world.
This was a pretty informal process in our home until a friend suggested we present each girl with a “Responsibilities and Privileges” list on her birthday. We started presenting them with a new list every year and they now look forward to seeing what new privileges they have earned. It is also an opportunity for us to talk about their new responsibilities.
Why we use a Responsibilities and Privileges list
- It is good preparation for life. The more responsible you are, the more privileges you earn. The Bible in Luke 16:10 tells us that when we are faithful with little, we will be faithful with much. Childhood is a great time to begin learning this concept.
- Our younger daughter wants the same privileges as her sister, who is three years older. She still does not like that she does not have as many privileges as her sister, but the lists allow her to see that she will have similar privileges when she is older.
- I am no longer to blame when their privileges are taken away when they are not responsible. They must fulfill their responsibilities, such as completing chores or showing initiative, before they can enjoy their privileges. Losing their privileges is no longer a punishment, but a natural consequence of their behavior.
- They often ask why we expect so much of them when other kids they know do not have to do the same chores or behave the same way. We discuss how every family has different values and also that they are allowed to attend nice dinners and business functions because they know how to behave. The Responsibilities and Privileges list is a natural extension of this conversation to help them see that their behavior and responsibility have a direct correlation on the privileges they earn.
How to implement a Responsibilities and Privileges list
- Ask for your child’s input. What does he really want as a new privilege this year? His response might surprise you and be much simpler than you expect.
- Pray. Ask God how you can help your child mature. What responsibilities would help him reach that maturity and what privileges would be a good motivation and reward?
- Talk with your husband. Sometimes we, as moms, get so involved in the details that it is difficult to see the big picture. Our husbands are usually far enough removed from the day-to-day happenings that they can see ways to build maturity that we might not recognize.
- Present the list to your child on his birthday, the first day of school, or the first day of the new year. These are obvious times for new beginnings.
- Provide training when your child assumes a new responsibility or gains a new privilege.
- Keep the list posted in a prominent place such as on the refrigerator or bulletin board.
- Revisit the list every few months to evaluate if your child is making progress in meeting his responsibilities. Also evaluate if you are allowing him to enjoy the privileges you said he would earn. Make adjustments as necessary.
Not sure what to include on your child’s responsibilities and privileges list? This PDF includes over 100 suggestions of responsibilities and privileges for children of all ages.
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