Grandparenting 101: Teaching Kids Responsibility

Grandparenting For Responsibility

Last week we published an article called: 10 Tips For Becoming a Wonderful Grandparent. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on that article so we thought we’d dive deeper into some more specific areas of grandparenting. Today we’ll focus on helping our grandkids develop responsibility.

A Grandparent’s Role in Helping Grandkids Develop Responsibility

As grandparents, we have the opportunity to play a significant role in the development of our grandchildren into responsible adults. Whether it’s through modeling responsible behavior, teaching practical skills, or encouraging independence, there are many ways that we can support and guide our grandchildren as they grow and learn.

In this article, we will explore seven practical ways that grandparents can help their grandchildren develop responsibility. From encouraging volunteering and community service to discussing important values, these strategies can help grandchildren develop the skills and habits they need to become responsible and independent adults.

Normally, I would put this next part in a conclusion section of an article but I think it’s really important that as you read this and as you incorporate these ideas into your grandparenting, you keep the parents of your grandchildren in mind.

It is important for grandparents to communicate with the parents of their grandchildren, understanding their expectations and any boundaries they would like you to respect. By doing so, you can ensure that you are all working towards the same goals for the child and can play a supportive and positive role in your grandchildren's lives.

Grandparents play a unique and important role in the lives of their grandchildren and can have a lasting impact on their development. But while grandparents can be role models and provide valuable support and guidance, it’s important to recognize that they may have different ideas and expectations for their grandchildren than the parents do.

With this in mind, here are seven practical ways that grandparents can help their grandchildren develop responsibility:

Model Responsible Behavior

It is important for grandparents to set a good example for their grandchildren, as children often learn by observing and imitating the behavior of those around them. By demonstrating responsible behavior themselves, grandparents can help their grandchildren learn important skills and habits that will serve them well as they grow into adults.

Most of these opportunities will happen spontaneously and unlike some of the suggestions you are about to read, they probably can’t be planned ahead. Your grandchildren are observing how you handle yourself in everyday and stressful situations and they will remember how you behave! Be mindful of how you speak about yourself and others because kids pick up on how you feel about yourself and others through your actions and words and they will imitate you. They also will pick up on any differences between what you say and what you do!

Teach Practical Skills

Teaching practical skills to children can help them learn to be self-sufficient and responsible, and can also be a fun and rewarding way for grandparents to bond with their grandchildren. Some examples of practical skills that grandparents can teach their grandchildren include:


Teaching children how to cook simple meals or bake treats can help them learn important kitchen skills, as well as how to follow a recipe and measure ingredients. If you have some science knowledge cooking can be a casual, fun way to show how chemistry affects our everyday lives. It can also help them understand the value of healthy eating habits.


Teaching children basic cleaning tasks like wiping down counters, sweeping the floor, or doing the dishes can help them learn to take care of their own living space and be responsible for their own environment. Even very young children can be involved with dusting and putting items away.

Caring for a Garden

Whether it’s a small container garden or a larger backyard plot, gardening can teach children valuable skills such as how to care for plants, how to work with their hands, and how to be patient and persistent. It can also help them appreciate the natural world and the importance of taking care of the environment.

Encourage Independence

In addition to these specific skills, there are many other practical skills that grandparents can teach their grandchildren, such as basic home maintenance tasks, how to do laundry, or how to budget and manage money. By teaching these skills and helping their grandchildren develop a sense of self-sufficiency, grandparents can help them become more responsible and independent adults.

As grandparents, it is important to strike a balance between providing guidance and support for our grandchildren, while also allowing them the space to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their actions. By encouraging independence and allowing children the opportunity to make their own choices, we can help them develop critical thinking skills and the ability to take responsibility for their own lives.

This not only helps them become more responsible adults but also fosters a sense of self-confidence and self-worth as they learn to trust in their own abilities.

It is important to remember that while we can offer guidance and support, ultimately it is up to the individual child to make their own decisions and take responsibility for the outcomes. By encouraging this independence and supporting their growth and development, we can help our grandchildren become responsible, self-sufficient adults.

Provide Structure and Routines

Establishing routines and structure in a child’s life can be an important factor in helping them become more organized and responsible. When children have clear expectations and understand what is expected of them, they are more likely to feel a sense of control and stability in their lives. This can help reduce stress and anxiety and allow children to focus on their responsibilities and tasks.

By setting aside specific times for homework, chores, and leisure activities, children can learn to prioritize their responsibilities and manage their time effectively. This can help them develop important skills such as time management and organization, which are crucial for becoming responsible adults.

Routines and structure can provide children with a sense of security and predictability, which can be especially important during times of uncertainty or change. Overall, establishing routines and structure can be a valuable tool in helping children develop responsibility and become more organized and self-sufficient adults.

Encourage Volunteering and Community Service

Participating in volunteering and community service projects can be a valuable experience for children, as it helps them develop a sense of responsibility to others and a sense of purpose.

When children see the impact of their actions on their community and the people around them, they are more likely to feel a sense of belonging and connection. This can be especially powerful when done alongside grandparents, as it can provide an opportunity for intergenerational bonding and shared experiences.

Volunteering and participating in community service can be a great way to teach children important values such as compassion, empathy, and social responsibility. By demonstrating these values through their actions, grandparents can help their grandchildren understand the importance of giving back and being a part of something larger than themselves.

Overall, volunteering and participating in community service can be a meaningful and rewarding experience for both grandparents and grandchildren, helping to foster a sense of responsibility and connection to others.

Discuss Important Values

Having open and honest conversations with grandchildren about important values such as honesty, integrity, and respect can be a valuable way for grandparents to guide and support their development into responsible adults.

When children are given the opportunity to discuss and reflect on these values, they are more likely to internalize and embrace them in their own lives. By discussing how to apply these values in daily life, grandparents can provide concrete examples and guidance on how to embody these values in their actions and behaviors.

These conversations can also provide an opportunity for grandparents to share their own experiences and perspectives, helping children to understand the importance of being responsible and acting with integrity.

Overall, by engaging in open and honest conversations about values with their grandchildren, grandparents can play a crucial role in helping them develop a strong sense of responsibility and integrity.

Encourage Creativity and Problem-Solving

Encouraging creativity and critical thinking in children can be an important factor in helping them become resourceful and responsible adults.

When children are given the opportunity to think creatively and approach problems and challenges in new and innovative ways, they are more likely to develop skills such as problem-solving, resourcefulness, and resilience.

These skills are crucial for becoming responsible adults, as they enable individuals to navigate the complexities and challenges of life with confidence and independence.

Grandparents can play a crucial role in fostering these skills in their grandchildren by providing opportunities for them to tackle problems and challenges on their own. This might involve providing resources and support, but ultimately it is important to allow children the space to figure things out for themselves and develop their own problem-solving skills.


Being a responsible adult requires a range of skills and habits that can be developed and nurtured from a young age. Grandparents have the unique opportunity to play a significant role in their grandchildren’s development into responsible adults. By modeling responsible behavior, teaching practical skills, encouraging independence, providing structure and routines, encouraging volunteering and community service, discussing important values, and encouraging creativity and problem-solving, grandparents can help their grandchildren develop the skills and habits they need to become responsible adults.

Alice Goldstein
A Licensed Professional Counselor and Life Coach for over 25 years, Alice has written on a wide range of topics, touching on issues that matter most to seniors. Check out her article “Tips for Successful Marriages for Couples over 70” - a popular post on where Alice is an “Expert” author. Learn more about Alice Goldstein