One of the things a child can struggle with in life is breaking away from mommy’s nest and becoming completely independent. In college I was a train wreck. I went away and had no clue how to do laundry or even how to boil water. My mother did teach me these things, but I have an amazing ability to be VERY selective on what I actually hear and then process in my mind. It’s a rare disease called selective hearing. I still have not been cured. It was especially bad from the ages of 0-22.

My 4 year old (almost 5) has also inherited this disease. She also has inherited my love for television, but that’s whole other blog post that we could discuss. I’ve noticed that when I give her chores to do around the house, she feels confident and gets that satisfaction that we all get when we have completed a task. Now don’t get me wrong, when I tell her that she needs to clean her room and make her bed, there is ALWAYS complaining and whining. BUT, when she is done, she can’t wait to show me what she has accomplished. And I find myself to be the exact same way.

In this awesome book, it gives you a “plan” on how to raise your children to become independent from ages 3 to 17. Below is what you should try and have your children be doing at each age in life. Remember every child is different, so don’t feel like a failure if your child hasn’t achieved each of these. I don’t even know how to do half of these things! But it’s never too late to learn. This is just an awesome guideline.

Early Childhood Education

3 Year old

Here are some great activities for Teaching Resources for 3 Year Olds

Dress self (this one is a struggle for me, I’d like to dress all my kids until 18)

Toilet trained

Begin to brush teeth

Pick up toys

Say prayers

Four Years Old

Brush teeth

Make bed

Make own breakfast (this one scares me)

Make sandwiches (this one also scares me)

Beginning to clean room

Clean glass tables

Unload dishwasher

Five Years Old

Straighten room


Empty garbage cans

Set table

Clear table

Make own lunch

Get allowance

Six Years Old

Take shower


Load dishwasher

Empty dishwasher

Clean sinks

Run microwave

Water plants

Make and answer phone calls (So important! I remember this being so terrifying to me, but it’s such a great thing to learn! Especially with all the texting and loop holes we have without actually TALKING to a person)

 Seven Years Old

Wash dishes

Floss teeth (I’m still learning this one)

Clean toilets

Pull weeds

Savings account

Read with comprehension (still learning this one too haha)

Memorize phone/address

Eight Years Old

Grooming nails & hair

Get up by himself/herself

Learn sport or club

Personal talent development

Clean mirrors

Read scriptures/bible daily

Care for pet

Do hair

Begin piano lessons

Nine Years Old

Mop floor

Clean pictures

Bake cakes

Bake cookies

Read scriptures/bible daily

Emergency prep

Learn first aid

Fill car with gas (when I got my license at 16, I went to the gas station by myself for the first time and had no idea how to work the pump. Luckily my friend pulled into the gas station right after me and I had to ask her. So embarrassing!)

Wash car

Vacuum interior of car

Hammer nails

Saw wood

Cook vegetables

Write a letter to someone (a lost art these days)

Understands puberty & sex

Use email


Ten Years Old

Do own laundry completely (I can’t wait for this one)

Set personal goals

Musical instrument

Maintain personal journal

Exercise program

Clean stove

Clean oven

Make several salads

Basic nutrition

Use blower

Plant plants

Write creative writing

Basic sentence understanding

Wrap presents

Sew buttons

Eleven Years Old

Arrange for own haircuts

Clean refrigerator

Clean cupboards

Straighten drawers

Straighten closets

Sew hems

Bake pies

Bake bread

Make several main dishes


Meal planning

Mow lawn

Use weed-wacker

Garden maintenance

Good basic math skills

First aid training

Babysitting class

Twelve Years Old

Shop for clothing

Basic fashion awareness

Public speaking

Weight control habits

Make/keep dentist appt

Make/keep doc appt

Keep personal calendar

Understand basic filing

Some computer experience

Order something by phone

Order something by mail

Order something on internet

Check fluids in car

Paint interior/exterior house


Clean windows

Use internet

Thirteen Years Old

Sew simple items

Shopping & sales (Oh yes! I’m really good at this one)

Bargain hunting

Party planning

Has own recipe files

Grocery shopping

Plant care

Simple budgeting

Pay household bills


Certify for CPR

Type without looking

Go to movies without parent

Understand prescriptions

Learn meat-handling rules

Learns etiquette rules

Fourteen/Fifteen Years Old

Basic interior decorating

Food storage basics

Memorize SSN

Understand debit cards

Learn interest, debt, securities

Learn about make-up

Identify business skills

Some experience with sales

Learn basic civics and politics

Accompany parent to vote

Thorough car detailing

Change flat tire

Basics of car operation

Structural household repairs

Put up wallpaper

Clean garage

Sell items on internet

Sixteen/Seventeen Years Old

Get driver’s license!

Understands credit cards

Learn retirement plans

Resume preparation


Understand advertising

Career planning

Arrange for car insurance

Household repairs

Assist in purchase of car

Checking account

File tax return

Deal the auto mechanic

Landscape planning

Use cell phone and pay for it

GET A JOB!!! (AMEN to this one!!!)

Now don’t get overwhelmed. Little by little start implementing one of these jobs into your child’s life. Parenting can be overwhelming, but if we just try to teach our children a little each day neither the parent nor the child will feel defeated.

Here is another great book to help rear your children to be independent, good people.

Teaching Kids to Think

These are some great books for children to read to help them learn independence.

The Little House Books teach how to do chores.



is your child on the right

independence children bicycle