Thursday, November 10, 2011

30 things your child needs to know…

Haverkamp child #2 is just about ready to fly.  It’s in this season that I always evaluate whether I have taught them everything I want them to know before they enter the big world of adulthood.  I’ve never made a list of the things my kids need to master before they leave the nest; I have a mental tally.  But today and tomorrow, I’ve decided to share that previously unspoken list with all of you—15 skills today and 15 tomorrow!  Aren’t you lucky?!  Here goes…

30 Things your child needs to know before they leave your home:

1. How to use and wake to an alarm clock: Believe it or not, some kids are awakened by their parents into their teen years. Teach your kids to use an alarm clock and to manage their own sleeping schedule. Let them be late if they choose to push snooze.

2.  How to clean well:  Every kid should know how to scrub a toilet, shake a rug, and properly make up a bed with clean sheets.  Parent inspection must follow these clean up jobs to ensure excellence.

3. How to do their own laundry—well: This not only includes the washing of clothes, but the drying, folding, and occasional ironing of them.

4. How to properly set a table: Would you know how to set the table if the queen was to dine at your house? Make sure your kids know where the knife, spoon, fork and napkin go, along with the plate, bowl and cup.

5. How to plan a meal: This includes everything from finding recipes and following them, presenting the food, and cleaning up the entire mess.

6. Manners! Social manners, table manners, phone manners—just general respectfulness! Make sure your kids are noticed for their great social graces.

7. How to sew at least one basic item on the sewing machine: In the Haverkamp house, sewing is not a female-only activity. My boys are fairly adept on the sewing machine. At the very least, your kids must know how to mend torn clothing and sew on a button well by hand.

8.  How to handle money: In order for kids to learn about money, they must have some money.  Before they are able to get a job to earn this money themselves, give them an allowance.  As they get older teach them to how to count change, write a check, balance a checkbook, and make investments to allow that money to grow. Teach them how to give, to spend wisely, and to save.

9. How to shake hands with confidence: This is a skill that is lacking in young people today. Teach your kids to confidently look another in the eye, extend their hand, and ask others their names. If your child is uncomfortable looking others in the eye, have them look at the bridge of the other’s nose.

10. How to inquire about, interview for, and maintain a job: This will also include how to work hard at that job even when they don’t feel like it or it is boring.

11. How to plan a route to a destination and get there without using GPS:  With the advent of Google maps and the Tom Tom, our kids have become directionally challenged.  Before your child leaves, make them plan, and successfully execute, a route to a chosen spot using only a map and a compass.

12. Basic auto mechanics:  Every boy and girl that drives a car needs to know basic auto mechanics—changing a tire, checking the oil, filling the tires with air, filling the tank with gas, knowing what to do when the “check engine” light goes on.

13. How to drive a car with a manual transmission: Every kid that drives should also know the basics of driving a stick-shift.  This skill comes in handy when the company car (that goes with the new job) does not have an automatic transmission.

14. How to educate themselves: Even if you are not a great reader, teach your progeny the value of a good book.  Teach them how to experiment with different genres—classics, sci-fi, biographies.  Show them how to go to the Library and look at the research items there in addition to researching topics on the internet. 

15. How to establish a quiet time with God:  This can be done mostly by example.  Kids need to know that it takes time and energy to establish an intimate relationship with the Creator of the world.  They also need to know that it’s easy to put this on the back burner in favor or more “urgent” items.  Show them how important it is to put God first everyday.


To be continued…stay tuned for more necessary life skills in tomorrow’s post!


  1. fabulous Tori! I was thinking of your kids while reading this...they are great kids because they have such great parents!

  2. These are great! Thanks Tori! I'm thinking it would be wise for me to even implement/share these skills with the students I work with, since my job is to help them with the college-going process....which includes what you shared. :)