As a parent, do you sometimes do things for your children that they should do for themselves?
I’m a parent too, so I know this is a trap that’s easy to fall into.
As time goes by, you may even start to think that you need to keep doing these things for your children.
If you don’t, these things won’t get done at all!
I’ve spoken to and worked with 25,000 pre-teens and teens so far. It surprises me that most of them haven’t developed the life skills needed to succeed in school and adulthood.
To help parents, I’ve created this list of 40 things that children should know how to do before they turn 13.
(To gain access to 10 more items, download the free bonus below.)
I’ve separated the list into five categories:
- General life skills and self-management
- Social/communication skills and relationships
General life skills and self-management
1. Use a calendar or planner to keep track of important events and dates.
2. Handle their schoolwork, revision, etc. on their own without reminders or nagging.
3. Wake up on their own every morning without relying on their parents.
4. Writing things down and setting reminders to ensure that they don’t forget important information, items, etc.
5. Keep their room, desk, personal belongings, etc. organised.
6. Contact their tutors, teachers, coaches, etc. when necessary instead of relying on their parents to do it on their behalf.
7. Develop a rough daily and weekly schedule.
8. Create a plan to prepare for a test, achieve a goal, complete a project, etc.
9. Prioritise tasks.
10. Pack their bag on their own.
11. Take public transportation.
Social/communication skills and relationships
12. Carry on a conversation with someone they just met.
13. Ask appropriate and relevant questions.
14. Order food at a food court, fast food restaurant, etc.
15. Display basic courtesies.
16. Offer a sincere apology when they have made a mistake.
17. Keep the commitments and promises they have made to others.
18. Create a simple budget.
19. Save for things they want in the medium- or long-term.
20. Set aside some of their allowance for charitable giving.
21. Know the rough price of common items.
22. Compare prices before making bigger purchases so that they don’t waste money unnecessarily.
23. Buy groceries.
24. Operate kitchen appliances, e.g. toaster, microwave.
25. Prepare a simple meal, e.g. cook noodles and eggs, make a salad.
26. Use the washing machine.
27. Iron clothes.
28. Fold clothes.
29. Vacuum and sweep the floor.
30. Mop the floor.
31. Clean the bathroom.
32. Wash the dishes.
33. Clear the garbage.
34. Manage emotions like anger, anxiety and fear in healthy ways.
35. Deal with failures and disappointments constructively.
36. Take full responsibility for their life and not blame others.
37. Cope with stress effectively.
38. Accept criticism with grace.
39. Forgive themselves and others.
40. Reframe frustrating situations so that they see the situations more positively.
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