Things we need to teach our kids – Help with list please

Things we need to teach our kids – Help with list please

I am presently working on a list of things that we need to teach our kids for my new book. I want to give parents a large list of things we need to teach our kids. I am not going to do an age for each list item as different kids can do things at different ages. By the time your child is 18 they should be able to do all of these things. The list starts off with things for small toddlers and grows from there.

There are also only 4 options (in my opinion) for where we are in each category.

  1. Your child has successfully learned this item
  2. You are presently teaching your child how to do this
  3. You have not started teaching your child this item yet
  4. Your child knows how to do it but you do it for them – over-parenting

I would love to know what are some things I am missing. Please add in comments or send me a PM or an email.

Things that all children will need to learn at some point

  1. Put away your own clothes
  2. Use utensils properly
  3. Eat in a proper way. Mouth closed. Not talking while chewing etc
  4. Be able to blow their own nose
  5. Go to the bathroom on your own
  6. Put away their own toys
  7. Tie their own shoes
  8. Learn how to swim
  9. Brush their teeth
  10. Learn how to bath or shower themselves
  11. Put away towels after bath or shower
  12. Learn how to turn on and off the TV and other technology
  13. Learning the basics of money. Learning the difference between spending, saving, and giving
  14. Learn to say “Please” and “Thank-You”
  15. Learn how to ride a bicycle
  16. Learn how to vacuum, dust, sweep, clean windows, toilets etc
  17. Help clean up around the house
  18. Help set the table with cutlery, plates, glasses etc
  19. Learn how to cook
  20. Clear the table and do the dishes
  21. Take care of their pets
  22. Keep track of their school items.
  23. Wash a car
  24. Understand the basics of sex
  25. Change a flat/change snow tires
  26. Learn how to shovel the snow, put out salt
  27. Learn how to work in the garden, cut the lawn, trim trees, plant flowers
  28. Put air in a tire or their bike, basketball, soccer ball etc
  29. Be involved volunteering somewhere to better their community
  30. Get up in the morning without help from a parent
  31. Go to bed at a reasonable time without a parent
  32. Filling out paperwork for school or clubs. Parents should just be adding in information the kids don’t know or understand. Parents, of course, read it over when done before signing
  33. Doing the laundry. I did not say their laundry. If they are putting on laundry they can grab the family laundry basket and do a load or 2.
  34. Emailing adults like coaches or other adults with cancellations etc
  35. Do their own homework. If they need help from us as adults we are always there. This also does not mean we are talking to them about homework and seeing how they are doing. It is the idea that we are not going to hound them to get their homework done. But we will be involved in their education.
  36. Advocate for themselves at school and in society. If they get a grade that is incorrect they should be able to talk to the teacher in a respectful way and advocate for why they should get a better mark
  37. Understand proper respect for friends
  38. Learn proper use of technology. We often call this digital citizenship
  39. Learn how to drive
  40. Be involved with saving for post-secondary education
  41. Learning how to date properly. If dating is looking for a future spouse the end game is different than just looking for current companionship in life
  42. Take control of their own faith journey. They are not a Christian because their family is Christian. They should be a Christian because they believe it is true and decide to follow Christian faith for themselves.
  43. Take control of their own future. Choice of education, job etc
  44. Take control of the own extra curriculum activities.
  45. Learn how to take control of their personal fitness
  46. Learn about a proper diet
  47. Learn proper sleep hygiene (no screens before bed, cooler room etc)
  48. Directions in and around your town
  49. Learn how to address and use maps on a phone
  50. Learn how to ride bus, train, subway
  51. Go out for dinner on their own without parents and understand costs, taxes, tipping etc
  52. Learn how to control addictive tendencies of smartphones, video games etc. When do they have downtime from technology each day
  53. Learn how to deal with a cold, flu etc
  54. Learn how to travel without parents. Passports,
  55. Learn a good work ethic. Find a part-time job
  56. Learn how to talk to other adults.
  57. Learn how to talk to people in a dating relationship. Many men today are struggling with real-world relationships due to the extraordinary amount of time on video games
  58. Learn how to deal with teachers, bosses, other adults that they don’t like
  59. Learn how to deal with criticism
  60. Learn what to do if they do not know what to do

What am I missing?


#Navigating Everything


About The Author

Brett Ullman

Brett Ullman travels North America speaking to teens, young adults, leaders, and parents on topics including parenting, mental health, sexuality, pornography, men, dating and media. Brett's seminars engage and challenge attendees to try and connect our ancient faith with our modern culture we live in. Participants are inspired to reflect on what we know, what we believe and how our faith ought to serve as the lens through which we view and engage tough conversations in our society today.


  1. Nancy Jackett

    Excellent list!!! –
    I would add financial planning & budgetting – This may include figuring out what a certain type of employment will provide in wages per year, seeing real life costs of heat, hydro, water, groceries, tithing, insurance, rent, savings, etc. Also, explain how income tax is calculated. Cost of owning/operating a vehicle
    Learn a hobby, skill – perhaps a marketable skill.

  2. Marsha

    Brett, I would also add learn to own up to their mistakes and saying “I’m sorry” (NOT my bad!)

    As well, learn/understand that life’s not fair.

    Neither of these are tangible things, but make a real difference in the maturity of a person.

    • A

      And read/re-read privacy terms on all social media before posting/signing-up

  3. Michael Ankenmann

    Great list! Managing money should include budgeting and balancing a cheque book.


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