No Tricks About It

We all want the best for our kids. We want them to grow up caring and responsible and making an impact wherever they are. But, we also recognize that it can be difficult raise a child with these values, especially when we first begin.

Responsibility is about “the idea of taking action and being proud of doing it.”

– Alex Barzvi, Ph.D.

Here are five tips to raising a responsible child that wants to help out the community instead of tricking them into it with the help of


Lead by example.

We certainly can’t expect children to do without seeing first. Show them through your own actions how they can help in the community, and what being responsible looks like. This can include taking part in volunteering weekly somewhere in the community, doing tasks around the house with your kids before you ask them to do it alone, etc.

There’s no I in team.

As you’re talking to your kids about what helping out looks like, use the word “we” instead of “you.” “We help others in need because we have plenty to give,” and “We clean up after ourselves so we can serve others by allowing them to use a clean space when they enter,” are good examples. Using “we” allows children to know that you’re not singling them out and asking them to do things you wouldn’t.

Share the expectations.

Sit your kids down and let them know you’re expectations for them. Setting down rules and boundaries will help them see exactly what you want from them, so they recognize on their own if they are doing what you asked or not. Even setting expectations about wanting them to help out in the community through donating their time or resources will help.

Make the greater purpose known.

Once the expectations are shared, however, kids need to know the why behind them. No rule or expectation will be met with a generous and understanding mindset if they don’t see the bigger picture. You can incorporate the last three into one sentence: “We volunteer at the park once a week so that we can serve the people that work there and show them we are thankful for what they do for us.”

Inspire them.

Instead of telling them in what ways they should give, ask them what they would like to do. Have children write out (or say) what people, organizations and places they would like to work with to better in some way. Inspiring kids to pick their favorites will eliminate the task in volunteering, and instead will let them see it as though it was their idea in the first place.


“Ingraining responsibility in children is not a trick, but is simply teaching them life skills.”

– Karen Ruskin, Psy.D. and author of “The 9 Key Techniques for Raising Respectful Children Who Make Responsible Choices

As a community, we can work to raise our children to have hearts for serving others.

Let’s keep in touch as we walk through this journey together.