I catch myself staring at photos of the boys when they were little, shaking my head, and wishing that I could turn back time (sorry if I just got the Cher song stuck in your head). They are growing WAY too fast.
Teach Your Kids How to Adult – By Age
Below are some basic tasks that your tweens and teens should be able to do on their own, broken down into age ranges.
AGES 10 – 12
Stay home alone – I started to let the boys stay home alone (together) when N was about 12. I would only go somewhere local such as picking up a prescription, grabbing milk from the grocery store, etc.
Load a dishwasher – When I say load a dishwasher, I mean rinse the item and place it properly in the dishwasher. Not next to the sink. Not on the counter above the dishwasher. IN the dishwasher
Clean their bedroom – This is hard but can be accomplished. Don’t be like me and think they are cleaning their room when they are in fact shoving their clothes either in the laundry (even though its clean), under their bed, or in their dresser drawers. How did I not catch on to that quicker? I used to do it myself when I was their age!
Take out the trash and recycling – This means both from the house to the garage, and from the garage to the curb. On garbage days, they take the pails to the curb and have to bring them back once the garbage trucks come by.
Change bedsheets – Changing bedsheets is a super easy chore to learn. Reminding them to do so is the hardest part.
Use basic hand tools – The boys learned how to use a screwdriver and hammer. We don’t really have a need for any other tools just yet, but will teach them as needed.
Use the washer and dryer – Your kid(s) will gain a lot more respect when it comes to laundry once they realize that clothing does not magically clean itself and land folded in their drawers and on hangers neatly (color-coded too) in their closet.
Clean most areas of the home – This covers dusting, vacuuming, and putting things that are out of their place back.
Plan and prepare meals with several ingredients – My boys do not do this yet but this is the time, if not sooner, to get your kids involved in the meal planning and cooking process. (Even more so if you have a picky eater on your hands. Giving them the feeling of responsibility in choosing what to make for dinner, and then helping in the prep, may open them up to trying new things.
Take care of younger siblings – My older one “watches” the younger one when we go out. Basically they are each on their computers or watching TV in separate rooms, but that still constitutes as taking care.
Compare prices – Teach your child to shop around. I show the kids the pricing for XYZ on Amazon, WalMart, and Target and have them take into consideration if there is a shipping charge, etc. and let them make the choice of which place is offering XYZ for the lowest price.
Understand basic banking concepts – This brings back memories of when the boys were little and would get money for a holiday. While driving to the store I’d have grandeur thoughts that I am going to integrate a math lesson into this shopping expedition.
I’d say, “You have $20.00. Pick something out for $20.00.” They would pick something out for $35.00. I’d ask them if 35 is greater than 20, they would say, “yes” and then pick that $35.00 toy up and try to walk to the register with it. We’d go through this a few times, until either they would finally pick an item that was in their budget, or they would break me down so hard that I’d throw in the towel and agree to giving them the extra money so they could get what they wanted. They’d profess that they would pay me back by doing chores – hah. Don’t be fooled…
Plunge the toilet – Especially once the kids are in their teens, this is a must! It is most definitely not a hard task, and something they will do frequently over the years.
Fill a car with gas – Kids can get their learner permit at 15 here in Florida. I personally think it is a bit young, as I didn’t get mine until I was 16 (then license at 17). If they are going to learn how to drive, then they should also know how to fill a car with gas.
Change a tire – Ditto from above!
Understand medicine labels and dosages – This is an easy task to teach, and an important one. Make sure you explain that different medications require different dosages.
Make appointments – Technology today makes this adulting task super easy. Appointments can now be made online, with reminders going to them via email and text messages.
Perform harder household chores – I bundle into this task replacing air conditioning filters, cleaning the stove, and cleaning gutters (safely).
Fill out a job application – Applications are super easy to fill out as almost all of them are electronic. Resume writing is along this vein of responsibilities as well.
Tip appropriately – At this age, they are probably going to dinners with friends/girlfriends/boyfriends and tipping properly is important and sometimes overlooked. A lot of receipts break down the tip at the bottom 18% = X, 20% = X, but if that isn’t available I taught them to tip $1 for every $5 if they received good service and enjoyed their meal.
Are there any other chores that you would recommend your children to learn during these age ranges? Comment below – I’d love to add them to this article!