What Responsibilities Can 7-Year-Old Children Assume?
As parents, we have the duty to educate autonomous and independent children who can fend for themselves. To achieve this goal, it’s important to gradually give them responsibilities from the first years of life. With this in mind, we’re going to talk about the responsibilities of 7-year-old children. Next, we’ll explain what tasks are appropriate for this age.
Before delving into this topic, it’s convenient to clarify the concept of responsibility. According to Maria Asunción Fernández Díaz, José Luis Idoate Iribarren, Maria Carmen Izal Mariñoso and Irene Labarta Calvo (2007), it means:
“The ability to assume the consequences of actions and decisions seeking one’s own good alongside that of others.”
Well, let’s teach children to make their own decisions, to be consistent with their actions and to understand that everyone, whether at home, at school or in any other social context, through their actions, must do their bit to make coexistence work.
What responsibilities can 7-year-old children assume?
At age seven, a child is ready to perform certain tasks related to personal care and helping around the house. So, some of these tasks include:
- Dressing oneself and choosing clothes.
- Going to bed alone and getting up when told or when the alarm goes off.
- Showering without help.
- Making one’s own bed.
- Tidying one’s own clothes.
- Taking care of and putting away one’s own toys and personal belongings.
- Sharing one’s things with others.
- Doing small shopping or run errands in the neighborhood.
- Going to familiar places close to one’s own usual residence (e.g. going alone to a friend’s or relative’s house who lives nearby).
- Helping carry a shopping bag.
- Managing small amounts of money.
“Any unnecessary help is an obstacle for the child.”
How do you get 7-year-old children to take on responsibilities?
We’ve already seen what responsibilities seven-year-old children can assume. But what should we do to make them take on these tasks?
When a seven-year-old child is asked to assume some of the duties we’ve mentioned above, it’s necessary to employ positive reinforcement through praise, hugs, attention, recognition, etc., as long as he fulfills his responsibilities and carries them out properly. This way, children are more likely to repeat these behaviors over time.
At this stage of development, children’s actions are conditioned by their parents’ approval or the approval of other important figures. They want their efforts to be valued.
Moreover, at this age, children understand when something is right or wrong, depending on the approval or rejection of an adult. Therefore, they obey educators or primary caregivers because they believe that this is the right thing to do, but they don’t reflect on it ethically or morally.
Gradually, however, they acquire the ability to base their behavior on the social norms and civic values that have been instilled in them.
Educating children to assume responsibility
Educating children to assume responsibilities is fundamental for their correct development. But no one says it’s easy. It requires a lot of effort, patience and dedication on the part of the adults who are responsible for their education.
So, as Maria Asunción Fernández Díaz, José Luis Idoate Iribarren, Maria Carmen Izal Mariñoso and Irene Labarta Calvo (2007) state:
“To educate is to help a person achieve the ability to be independent, to fend for himself, to make decisions, to make use of his freedom by knowing his own possibilities, and this can’t improvised: it’s a long and costly process, which begins in the family and continues at school and other social environments.”
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- Fernández, M.A., Idoate, J. L., Izal, M.C. y Labarta, I. (2007). Desarrollo de conductas responsables de 3 a 12 años. Gobierno de Navarra: Departamento de Educación y Cultura.