Teaching life skills to our children helps build the foundation for adulthood. Here are 10 things kids need to learn before turning 10.
Living in the Land of the Littles, you basically have to do everything for them 24-7. It’s exhausting. It’s tiring. But it’s life, so you suck it up and move forward. Then one day you wake up and realize that your oldest isn’t really a Little anymore. They are a Big. They can do things. By themselves. You can teach them life skills that will not only set them up well for adulthood, but they can help you now with chores. This (affiliate link) chore chart can help!
There are the basic chores:
- washing dishes
- folding clothes
- sweeping the floor
But what other life skills can we teach our children that will help lay the foundation for a successful adulthood? What are some things our children should learn how to do before their tenth birthday?
10 Things Kids Need to Learn Before They Turn 10
1. Pack their own lunch.
Yes, it’s possible! My oldest started making lunch for herself and her siblings when she was six. They were simple lunches of sandwiches with fruit and chips or crackers. She was always so proud of herself.
2. Do laundry.
We are working on this now. How to sort by color. How much laundry detergent to add to the washer. Where to pour the liquid soap – not in the bleach or fabric softener compartment. Of course, I’m hands-on with this right now. They are eight and six. But I know that soon, I can hand it over to them.
3. Wash the dishes and put them away.
The three-year-old likes to “help” with washing dishes, which usually ends with more water on her than the dishes. The eight-year-old loads the dishwasher empties the dishwasher, put the dishes in the sink in the dishwasher, and washes the dishes in the sink that can’t go in the dishwasher. Soon, my oldest is going to show her brother how to unload the dishwasher. We’ve been waiting until he’s slightly more coordinated. We might start with plastic cups and silverware first.
4. Sweep the floors and vacuum.
This is something that everyone can do. The three-year-old has a handheld broom and dustpan which she uses to help sweep the floor. We’re teaching the bigger kids how to sweep the right way with a broom, and the oldest vacuums the carpets. Yes, it’s easier for me to do it, but this is a life skill they need to learn.
5. How to tie their shoes.
While this seems obvious, it’s not. I was looking at the shoes my kids wear the other day, and only two of them have shoes with laces. That was not on purpose. We usually buy shoes based on the sizes available, not on whether or not they are laces or hook and loop. My kids will learn how to tie their shoes before they are ten.
6. Clean their room.
Not by throwing everything under the bed or in a closet. Actually putting things away, making sure clothes are hung back up or put in the laundry basket, making their beds, dusting, and vacuuming.
7. Cook a simple meal.
Maybe they cook breakfast for dinner, make a pot of soup out of a can, grilled cheese sandwiches, or cookies from scratch. Nothing fancy or elaborate, but enough to prove they know their way around the kitchen.
8. Use manners.
When asking for something. When talking to adults. How to say Please and Thank you. How to hold the door open for people. How not to talk over people. How to share. Basically how to be a polite person.
9. How to receive criticism with grace.
Receiving criticism is hard at any age. I want to teach my children how to respond properly when they are criticized. Instead of getting defensive, I want them to be able to listen to the person even if they disagree and are hurt. They need to learn how to turn a negative into a positive.
10. How to use a dictionary.
Even in this day of technology, learning how to use a dictionary is important. It’s a great way to learn new words and the meanings of words.
Those are definitely things that kids should be able to do by the time they are ten. But sometimes we need a little getting started on teaching those life skills, don’t we?
Need Help Teaching Life Skills?
Sometimes, it’s not that we don’t want to teach our children life skills to become successful adults. We don’t have the time, or we don’t know where to start. When I was in middle school, there was Home Economics. But I didn’t take it because I was in the band, and we couldn’t do both. There are so many skills that I wish I had mastered in my youth. Sewing, cooking, how to declutter. It wasn’t until college that I learned how to change a tire and the oil in my car. That was because my friends decided I needed to learn those life skills.
You don’t have to wait. You can start today.
Wednesday 17th of August 2022
I could not disagree with you on the subject of children and chores more. That a child is capable of doing something doesn't make it age appropriate nor the child's responsibility. Teaching children skills and making them do regular chores is not the same thing. Although we should teach our children skills we should not burden them with regular chores. Play is the work of childhood
I have examined the research. There is not any study to the effect that chores really help kids [not even the Harvard Study, which I have examined]. In fact, the only study I found that came close to testing this idea was a 2003 study by the University of Amsterdam. In this study, researchers found,“A direct (negative) path was found between the number of chores assigned and school success (GPA)” … that negative correlation was likely because “too many chores and responsibilities interfere with schoolwork.” Again, there is no evidence that doing chores contribute to a child’s success. The Minnesota research was not peer-reviewed and thus unreliable.
Kids should NOT be made to do chores. The housework is NOT the child's responsibility. The parents are the carers and providers. The children are NOT the help. Kids should PLAY not WORK. Schoolwork including home school academic work is plenty enough. Chores are not difficult to learn anyone can in MINUTES. It's not the child's role to contribute to the family. As for self-confidence, deep relationship, pride, etc. can be gained via many other ways. These include play, art, sports, family time, etc.
Absolutely EVERYTHING can and is taught without chores thus making them redundant. The only reason any parent would insist on making kids do chores is so the parents have less work which is a bad reason and amounts to taking advantage of kids. By chores, I mean tasks such as doing the laundry, mopping / sweeping floors, washing the family dishes, loading / unloading dishwashers, cleaning toilets / bathrooms, etc. obviously a parent can teach a child how to do anything WITHOUT making it the child's job / responsibility.
I am thankful that my parents did not require regular chores from my sister and me growing up in the 1980s. I am grateful we had true parents who respected our childhood. And I NEVER had problems with performing any chore. Both my sister, me and EVERYONE I grew up with are living proof that regular chores for kids are worthless... well maybe just take a load off lazy parents. Do you know how long it took me to learn for example laundry? 10 minutes! I had the cleanest room at Seminary or everyone said so. So the nonsense doesn't stick with me.
Sincerely, Themistoklis J. Papaioannou
PS: Even the phrase "we are not raising children, we are raising adults" is wrong. No, you are raising CHILDREN who will GROW INTO adults. RESPECT CHILDHOOD.