x14426225fathersonlaundry A Response to Life 101On September 8, 2009 The Miami Herald printed an article called, “Life 101.” Subtitled, “What every child should learn before you let them fly the coop,” designated specific ages when certain logical life tasks need to be performed. The article separated tasks into “household, skills for life, food and drink, and etiquette.”

Here are a few suggested ages and necessary skills:

Dial 911: By five, a child should know how to dial and what to say in an emergency.

Commence laundry and dishwashing tasks while your child is two or three.

By the age of five, your child should be able to set the table with everyday dishes. By twelve, s/he should be able to set the table with good china and crystal.

Toilet cleaning can commence at three or four with a cloth moistened with alcohol. By nine to ten, s/he should be able to scrub with a brush and wipe clean and dry the entire toilet and toilet area.

By two or three your child should make her/his own bed. With practice s/he will have perfectly made beds and picked-up rooms by eight.

Learning how tools work and how to handle them can be introduced in small steps beginning at three. When the batteries die in her/his toys, let her/him try and unscrew the screws using a screwdriver. Of course, make sure the toy is unplugged.

A task involving etiquette that is critical is how to politely answer the phone and take a message. This skill must be perfected before s/he is allowed to answer the phone.

Also, at four or five, children should know how to greet people by making eye contact and shaking hands correctly.

Finally, how to change the toilet paper roller, balance a checkbook, shut off the main water valve of the house, use a hammer and screwdriver, and throw a circuit breaker must be accomplished before your children go “out into the world!”

Any tasks we left out? What do you think are mandatory skills? Let us know!

3 thoughts on “A Response to Life 101

  1. WOW!! I wish my kids could have accomplished all these tasks at the ages mentioned!! I think most parents would find them very “idealistic” at the least! Introducing toilet cleaning by age 3 or 4??? Who are these “children” that the author observed or taught??

    Obviously, all parents what their kids to learn the ways of life before going out into the world on their own, but seriously this author must not have actually had kids!!

    I know many people…adults…that don’t know what or where the circuit breaker box is let alone what to do with it!! The “basics” of skills for life certainly need to be learned, but I’m sure many will agree a lot of these skills aren’t really learned until you are on your own and/or there is a need to know. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone’s kids were just perfect and learned everything by the time they were 12? That’s just make believe stuff…ask any parent of young kids or teens!!

  2. Yes, it does seem like it is unrealistic to expect kids to be able to achieve the knowledge and skills mentioned in the article at such a young age. But, think about how kids can learn the lyrics to a song, and successfully play a video game necessitating extreme dexterity and coordination! I know that kids will master what is asked and modeled as behavior for them. If Dad and Mom make it a habitual activity to check the circuit breakers and do work that necessitates turning off the circuits, then kids who are “helping” will learn what to do. Thanks for your insight! Please keep on reading and commenting! What are some other perspectives on this blog?

  3. Acceptance of being irresponsible as a part of the personality is just wrong. I guess it is time to change our habits about how to raise the kids. It is in our hands to make them responsible on daily life tasks.. I like the article and it does not unrealistic to me at all!

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