Do you ever wish that they made a parenting manual that told you what to teach your children at what ages? I sure do! Let’s get really honest here for a minute. I occasionally have mothering days where I feel like I am doing a pretty good job to raise kind, polite, responsible, helpful children. Then there are other days (a lot of days) where I just wonder why I am the one in charge because it doesn’t feel like I’m getting through to them at all! Anyone else feel this way sometimes?
One rough day, I happened upon a “presentation” by a woman named Merrilee Boyack that gave me hope. What she shared made so much sense and I can’t wait to share it with all of you! In this post (which by the way, she has no idea I am writing it–this post is no way sponsored at all) I will share a brief overview of her parenting breakthrough and then hook you up with an editable, printable, “checklist” of skills to teach your children ages 3-17 that I made based on her suggestions in her presentation.
How to teach your children to be independent
Merrilee teaches that to let children know in advance what “skills” they will be learning in that year of their life. They will be very excited and not surprised when it comes time to learn that new skill. Starting them out as young as 3 gets them motivated to take care of themselves. Suggested skills for 3 year old’s are to: Dress self, Toilet trained, Beginning brush teeth, Pick up toys, Say prayers. I have a 3 year old and these are all skills she is working on currently.
It is best if you teach them how to do a task and then allow them a training period to learn it. It may need to be shown over and over to them. This goes for all ages. When they have done the task perfectly 5 times by themselves, it gets “passed off”. You can choose to do 1 skill at a time or many skills at a time. If they get done learning all their 3 year old tasks months before they turn 4, you can start on that 4 year old list right away. You don’t need to wait to teach your children the next set of skills. As soon as a skill is learned it becomes part of their chore list. This can be daily, weekly, monthly-depending on the skill so they don’t forget.
While they are in “training” phase, make sure they are trained correctly and praised for a job well done. If the result didn’t go so well, don’t go in after them and fix it. Re-teach/re-train and say, that is okay, it looks like we need some more training in this area, good try!
Sample skills list for “ages”
Here is the sample list for age 9. These are great life skills to have: Mop Floor, Bake Cakes, Bake cookies, Read Scriptures DAILY, Natural Disaster Emergency Prep/Plan, Learn First Aid, Learn how to change a diaper, Fill car with gas, Wash car & vacuum interior, Hammer nails, Saw wood, Cook Veggies, Write Letters, Use Email, Understand body changes
Here is the sample list for age 16. Boy, I wish I would have known some of these skills when I went away to college-let alone at 16! Age 16: Use weed-wacker, Get driver’s license, Understands credit cards, Learn retirement plans, Resume preparation, Interviewing, Understand advertising, Career planning, Household repairs, Assist in purchase of car, Checking account, File tax return, Deal with an auto mechanic, Landscape planning, Use cell phone (they pay for it!), Get a job
I am starting this process a little late in the game with most of my children. I have an 11, 9, 6, and 3 year old. As I went through her list I found that we have a bit of catching up to do. I also found that my 11 year is doing several things on the 14 and older lists. I took the suggested list and changed it to fit our needs. You can do the same thing to fit your needs. For example, our 10 year old tried to mow the lawn last summer. The mower was just too heavy for her small frame. I moved that task to an older age. Plus, I really love to mow the lawn, so I don’t want to “give” that task up just yet.
How to teach your children skill lists by age
You can have an editable, printable copy of this parenting breakthrough plan so you can make your own adjustments. Just click here to Google Slides to retrieve it. When you open it, rather than editing the original list I created, save a copy of it. Do this by clicking file, make a copy. Then edit it to your hearts content!
I just love this parenting idea to teach your children! I can’t imagine my children having these skills and ever being sorry they learned them! Let me know in the comments if you are going to try this. I just found out that Merrilee’s presentation is actually an excerpt from her book, it is available on Amazon! I can’t wait to read the whole thing!
*This post is not sponsored but may contain affiliate links