I’ve always believed that before new parents leave the hospital, they should be given a checklist.

This checklist covers all of the things your child needs to learn by age 16.

This checklist would be kept somewhere easily accessible.  An item could only be checked off once the child had been taught it, tested on it and passed.

Some things might be taught over time, other lessons could be learned in a weekend.

I say that everything would have to be checked off by age 16 because you would want to make sure your kid had at least 2 years to put the lessons into practice before venturing out on their own (assuming they want to start acting like an adult at age 18).

There would be many items on this checklist….and if a parent did not know how to teach one or more of the items, they would have to learn.  Then teach.

(sound familiar?)

As I said before, these aren’t just kids, they are adults in training.  You have a responsibility to prepare them to be as successful as possible.

The checklist will help.

If you have kids, I recommend that you make your own checklists (one for each child) and put their names at the top.  Then go through each item – in any order – and start connecting with your kids and teaching them.  When you think they have mastered one of the items, figure out a way to test their knowledge.  When you believe they really understand the concept, you may check it off….maybe even date it.

Sample items for the checklist, in no particular order:

  • Knows how to change a tire
  • Knows what a healthy relationship looks like
  • Knows what taxes are, why we pay them and how to pay them
  • Knows basic first aid
  • Knows how to cook at least 4 simple meals from scratch
  • Knows how to properly do laundry and wash dishes
  • Knows how to create a monthly budget
  • Knows how to sew a button back on
  • Knows how to drive a stick shift
  • Knows how to apply for a job and prepare for an interview
  • Knows how to check their oil
  • Knows about credit and how to be smart with it
  • Knows how to read
  • Knows how to calculate a tip and understands why we tip
  • Knows the types of monthly bills that adults must pay (utilities, insurance, cable, etc) and understands how to shop for the best price
  • Knows how to be a good employee
  • Knows how to be a good neighbor and citizen (including why we vote)
  • Knows they are loved

You can add many other things, some might even be unique to you or your family – traditions, hobbies, skills, stories, cultural celebrations…or anything else you feel is important (do you feel it is important to teach them how to make your famous lasagna?).

Remember: if there is somehting on the list YOU don’t know how to do, that’s okay.  You have time to go out there and learn, before your kid finds out.  Or you can take a course and learn together!

Either way, you get smarter and they get to spend even more time with you.

Be the kind of adult you want your children to become.

Learn as much as you can, teach as much as you can.

Love as much as you can.

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