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My wife and I often reflect on our now adult children’s childhood and discuss our mistakes and what we would do differently if we were raising them again. I recently came across an article by psychologist, Dr Elizabeth Kilbey who outlined some practical basics to consider while also acknowledging that children mature at different rates and will all be at different stages. I thought I would share some of the expectations she outlined in her article.


Ages 4 to 6

  • Be able to go to the toilet independently and wash hands.
  • Get dressed without help.


Ages 7 to 8

  • Know how to ride a bike without stabilisers, or a scooter.
  • Hone motor skills by climbing trees safely or structures in playgrounds.
  • Be able to tie shoelaces.
  • Learn to swim.
  • Be able to call emergency number on house phone.
  • Be able to butter toast, make a simple sandwich and pack school lunch.
  • Know how to set the table.


Ages 9 to 10

  • Begin to know how money works. Go into shops under supervision, but do simple transactions alone.
  • Know where the local travel routes are to get familiar with transport.
  • Be able to run short errands such as going to the post box or taking the dog around the block during the day.
  • Get involved in the cooking of simple dishes under supervision.
  • Know how to use utensils such as a grater or peeler.
  • Be involved in household chores such as loading and unloading the washing machine and dishwasher, mopping the floor.
  • Be able to change a bed.
  • Know how to summon help if there isn’t a phone. Be confident enough to go to a neighbour’s home for assistance.
  • Take control of basic personal hygiene — shower/bath daily, regularly wash hair.
  • Write a thank you letter or email.


Ages 11 to 12

  • Have the confidence to travel independently. Know the route to take to get to school, whether walking or using public transport.
  • Know what to do if at risk.
  • Be able to use a washing machine, choose the correct cycle for the fabric and then iron their clothes.
  • Have some outdoor camping skills, including lighting a fire under supervision.
  • Prepare food independently, follow a recipe and prepare simple meals.
  • Know good mobile phone etiquette, including how to put a passcode on a phone.
  • Use an EFTPOS card responsibly.
  • Be able to help gardening, like mowing the lawn, weeding, digging and planting.


Ages 13 to 16

  • Have a bank account to manage money independently.
  • Prepare main meals independently.
  • Understand the principles of basic first aid.
  • Be able to sew on a button.
  • Meet up with friends independently.
  • Organise schedule and be prepared for school and activities.


In Proverbs 22:6 we read “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it”.  Parents are in the unique role of helping children discover how God has equipped them and how they can use their gifts in a positive way as adults.


Adrian Scott

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