I have a good friend who travels across the country every summer with her husband and three boys to their lake house oasis. They try to go back to basics as much as possible, limit electronics, play board games, and generally have old-school family time at the lake. She told me recently that she tries to teach her boys one useful skill each summer that will make them each a better husband someday. That’s some awesome, intentional parenting if you ask me!
That conversation got me thinking about practical skills for tweens and what things are really important for them to learn how to do to help them become competent adults. Having raised one of my children so far to adulthood, I definitely have some thoughts on this topic!
Anyone who hasn’t learned these skills will, of course, benefit from learning them at any point. But I believe the best time to teach your kids these things is when they are between the ages of 10 and 14. By making sure your child has been introduced to these tasks at an earlier age, they will have time and opportunities to practice and master the skills before they leave home and while you are still there to help. By the time they leave for college or the workforce, you will be able to rest assured that your child will not be defeated by the first load of dirty laundry they encounter!
20 Practical Skills For Tweens
- Sew a button back on a shirt.
- Tie a proper square knot and a bowline knot.
- Change a flat bike tire. Then, a flat car tire.
- Use a lawnmower.
- Make a bed.
- Perform CPR.
- Change a baby’s diaper.
- Do a load of laundry start to finish.
- Prepare several basic meals.
- Repair a hole in the wall.
- Iron a shirt and pants.
- Use a plunger to clear a clogged toilet.
- Turn the water supply off to the house and to individual fixtures. Also, turn the power circuits off.
- Fill a car’s gas tank & check the oil.
- Order and pay for a pizza delivery.
- Neatly fold clothes, towels, and sheets.
- Use a drill.
- Calculate and leave a proper tip for a meal.
- Keep track of a bank account balance.
- Make correct change when given a large bill, old-school style (no using an iPhone 😉)
Next time you find one of the above tasks needs doing, grab your tween and either
- show them as you do it,
- have them help you do it, or
- talk them through doing it on their own.
Raising capable and self-sufficient people takes a lot of hard work and effort on our part as parents, but as you might already know, it is so very worth it.