Teach Your Children Ten Life Skills Before They are Twelve

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I want to launch a small challenge. It’s called “Teach your children ten life skills before they are twelve”!
I consider myself a very good mom, actually a great mom. I shower my son with attention and affection everyday, his happiness is the most important thing to me. For this reason I try my best to make sure he has a great life. With this intention, I end up doing too much for him, including cleaning up after him and getting his school bag ready for the next day. Hence, even great moms make mistakes. I realize that by catering to him like that, I didn’t let him grow. My selfish need for him to depend on me, made him lack some of the basic life skills he should have long known by now. Again, there are several things that I still do for him on a daily basis that I should have taught him to do on his own a while ago. Maybe it’s just fear that he is not going to need me anymore, I don’t know, but I have to change my ways. He is not a baby anymore and, consequently, I have to make sure he matures into an independent little man.

He doesn’t know how to make his bed the proper way, cook a small meal, use simple tools and many other things. Therefore, I put together a list of ten life skills I believe any child should know before they turn twelve. I am going to stick to it and every day, for ten days, he is going to learn something new.

10 life skills to teach children before they are twelve

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  1. Cook a small meal

I’m going to teach him how to cook noodles. It’s super easy and it’s an opportunity to learn how to use the stove. We eat a lot of pasta, so it would be nice for him to contribute and maybe come up with his own signature recipe. Pancakes would be a great alternative if you own a griddle.

2.  Make the bed

Yes, he knows how to pull the sheets and covers up, but I don’t think this constitutes making a bed properly. I’m going to teach him how to do the corners, tuck the sheets in and fluff the pillows.

3. Do a load of laundry

I will show him how to sort the dirty clothes by colors, measure the soap amount needed, and start a quick wash cycle. Afterwards, he will learn to use the dryer.

4. Set the table the proper way

I’m not going to lie, I probably never knew the absolute correct way to set a dinner table. It’s also going to be a learning opportunity for me.

5. Use simple tools

Maybe I will have my husband do this. He will be a better teacher on how to use and select the proper screwdrivers, pliers and hammers for each job.

6. Connect simple electronics

Some game consoles or dvd players are pretty easy to connect to the TV. Follow the instructions and help your child learn about audio/video and hdmi cables, and the purpose of surge protectors.

7. Wrap a gift

This one seems silly, but it requires a learned skill to wrap a present the right way. The holidays are near so start practicing with your child.

8. Write a letter

Nowadays everything is electronic, we text and we send emails. Writing a letter is out of style! I think a child should still know a proper letter format, and most of all, how to address it and put postage on it.

9. Take care of plants and/or pets

It is important to know what a pet can or cannot eat, or how much to water a plant. Taking care of animals and plants, also teaches a little bit of responsibility.

10. Order something online 

This seems to be the way to shop in our children’s generation. Amazon offers a new service for  teens that allows them to have their own account. Of course this account is connected to their parent’s one. Your child can place an order that you can later overview and approve. I believe it is a neat way to teach your child how online shopping is done, and how to be responsible with money.

I found some great parenting resources through the Parenting Super Bundle from Ultimate bundles. It’s a huge collection of e-books, e-courses and much more, for a very low price. If you just take a look, I’m sure you will find some very interesting info about children’s discipline, education, food, faith & beyond.

I would love to hear you suggestions on life skills you thought your children or, if you tried this challenge, give me some feedback on it!




  1. Stephanie

    November 24, 2017 at 9:19 am

    It’s so important to teach your kids laundry at a young age! That’s what my mom did for me 🙂

  2. Nicole | The Professional Mom Project

    November 24, 2017 at 9:24 am

    These are wonderful ideas. My only concern is that if I teach my son how to order something on amazon I’ll have a boatload of video games, lego and and star wars memorabilia showing up on my doorstep! 🙂

    1. Jessica Reed

      November 24, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      That’s exactly what my husband said! Thankfully the amazon teen account is linked to the parents’ one!

  3. Catherine

    November 24, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Absolutely love this, it’s so true and nothing’s better than enforcing good life habits before they are too old to break the bad habits.

    1. Jessica Reed

      November 24, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      Sometime I feel like it’s already too late.. he is already showing some attitude.. ugh!

  4. Monica

    November 24, 2017 at 10:16 am

    LOVE this post so much!! These things truly are SO important. I’ve got a baby boy on the way and will definitely be teaching him these life skills before he reaches 12!

    1. Jessica Reed

      November 24, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      Thank you for reading my post! I’m so happy you liked it!

  5. Natalie

    November 24, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    This is a fanatic list. I plan to teach my son all of these things, and have already started having my 22 month old “help” with chores around the house and putting things back. He loves it now, so might as well keep it up and make it fun for him- plus, his future spouse will thank me haha. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Jessica Reed

      November 24, 2017 at 8:10 pm

      I’m glad to hear that you are already teaching your son how to be independent, I waited way too long with mine..

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