We all want our children to become independent adults, and we can help them reach that goal by teaching them life skills. Here’s a handy checklist of some of the things a child should know how to do by the time they graduate High School. These skills are not hard to teach—just let your child become your assistant as you go through your daily chores and routines and explain as you go. And remember, children learn best by DOING, so let them give it a try! It’s never too early to start….

  1. Wake themselves up on time.
  2. Pack their own bags.
  3. Get out the door on time, with everything they need, and lock the door.
  4. Grocery shop—use coupons and comparison shop.
  5. Make and serve a meal.
  6. Load and run the dishwasher.
  7. Do laundry, from stain treatment to folding and putting away.
  8. Treat a wound: stop the bleeding, clean, cover.
  9. Clean–not just their room, but the bathroom and kitchen, too.
  10. Manage Money–budget, understand how banks work, how to save and spending.
  11. Write a letter–business and personal—and snail mail them.
  12. Plant a seedling.
  13. Hammer a nail.
  14. Wrap a gift.
  15. Pump gas.
  16. Order at restaurants and pay the bill correctly (tip).
  17. Make a business phone call: order something, make an appointment, or call for service.
  18. Talk to strangers—in a good way—making conversation and new friends.
  19. Plan an outing or event.
  20. Advocate for themselves.
  21. Always, always say please and thank you.

Thanks to Ellen Sturm, Parenting and Michelle Crouch, Parents Magazine.