The Ages 1-16 Plan

16In my Complete Tour of my Home Management Binder, I shared a glimpse of my Training Goals by Age pages.  I’ve since had several requests to show more.  So… here you go.

A few notes:

I have never had a kid older than 3 before, so these goals were not written from parenting experience as much as from what our parents did with us (or what we wish they had)

My husband and I are admittedly overachievers. Some of these goals may seem lofty, especially with current societal expectations for kids today. However, we both believe that children in ages past were pushed to accomplish more and were and are capable of far more than we expect of them nowadays.

Kids are different. The more ‘brainy’ child may read earlier than the other. The more physical one may pick up bike riding skills sooner. As a parent, don’t get discouraged if your kid doesn’t ‘fit the timeline’. Just adjust it based on your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Also, expect surprises, delays, and the need for flexibility. In the words of a famous pirate, these are guidelines, not actual rules.

Family goals are different. I honestly could care less if my daughter knows how to sew or not. I’d rather her learn to buy an outfit frugally than make it from scratch. But you may find more joy in crafting and place a larger emphasis on those skills. Likewise, you readers who live in the city may laugh at the idea of teaching your kid to make a fire or use a pocket knife and would much rather introduce how to navigate the metro system. Take this list and adjust it to fit your family.

Some things on this list are more for sons than for daughters, or vice versa. That being said, I still think it’s a good idea to be balanced in both areas. When your son’s wife is sick, it’s wonderful for your son to be able to step in and make a balanced dinner. When your daughter’s husband is unavailable, it would be good to know how to change a tire or stop a leaky household pipe.

Lastly, this list should be inspiring to moms of littles. Sure, your home has a 4 year old, 2 year old, and baby now and you feel stretched-thin and overwhelmed. You’re surviving and getting the laundry and dishes done in one day seems like a challenge. But it won’t always be so. You’re raising little helpers that will someday be capable of helping. After all, many hands make light work!

Age 1

  • Basic sign language (please, thank you, eat, drink, all-done, ouch, potty)
  • Early potty-training skills
  • Learn to Walk
  • Sleep through the night
  • Begin weaning

Age 2

  • Begin Learning Alphabet and Letter Sounds
  • Sit Quietly during Reading Time and Church (with toys/snacks)
  • Basic Bible Stories (Creation, Noah, Abraham, Jonah, Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, Jesus’ birth and death/resurrection)
  • Be Exposed to Good Music
  • Be able to count from 1 to 10.
  • Know basic Animals and their Sounds
  • Name Body Parts
  • Begin Catechism
  • Potty Train (during Daytime)
  • Speak clearly without whining even when frustrated
  • Move into Toddler Bed (and learn to stay there until Mom comes to get him)

Age 3

  • Recognize Capital and Lowercase Letters (and their sounds)
  • Know Basic Colors, Shapes, and Numbers (count up to 20 objects)
  • Begin Pen Control
  • Learn to Entertain Himself during Quiet Times (instead of naps)
  • Excuse himself from the table and take dishes to the sink
  • Color between the lines
  • Treat baby (and pets) gently
  • Dress/Undress
  • Potty train Day/Night (be able to go potty by himself)
  • Sit Quietly and Participate in church with minimal entertainment
  • Learn Liturgical (Always Repeated) Church Songs and Commonly Used Verses (The Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23, a joyful heart is good medicine, children obey your parents in the Lord, etc)
  • Have a basic understanding of Baptism and Communion
  • Yes sir/Yes mam’s and obeying quickly
  • Pick up his Toys (and the Baby’s too!)
  • Know personal vitals (birthdate, age, full name, parents’ names)
  • Start Swimming Lessons

Age 4

  • Learn to read simple words
  • Fold Simple Clothing Items
  • Properly Wash Hands
  • Make Bed
  • Make Simple Meals (cereal and milk, toast with butter, P&B sandwiches)
  • Begin to Clean Room without direct oversight
  • Continue learning catechism, Weekly bible verses
  • Proper Table Manners (use silverware, don’t get food everywhere)
  • Brush Teeth Independently
  • Develop a Daily Chore List (and introduce the concept of earned money relating to work)
  • Sit Quietly in Church
  • Learn Days of the Week and Months of the Year

Age 5

  • Write Letters
  • Straighten Room Alone
  • Introduce Vacuuming (with lightweight vacuum)
  • Empty Garbage
  • Set Table
  • Clear Table
  • Be able to work microwave to heat leftovers
  • Outfit Matching
  • Memorize Phone/Address
  • Put Clothes Away Neatly
  • Be able to swim without floaties
  • Feed/Water Pets
  • Know how and when to call 911
  • Roller skating, jump rope, bike riding introduction
  • Tie Shoes
  • Beginning Music Skills

Age 6

  • Piano Lessons
  • Early Reading
  • Shower/Bathe Alone
  • Dusting
  • Unload/Load Dishwasher
  • Water Plants
  • Answer Phone respectfully
  • Beginning Personal Planning (teach how to make own to-do-lists and complete them)
  • Start piecing memorized Bible verses into chapters
  • Straighten Living/Family Rooms
  • Bring in and put away groceries
  • Pouring milk/juice

Age 7

  • Wash Dishes
  • Introduce Good Nutrition (basic food groups)
  • Loading and Starting Laundry Machine
  • Clean Bathroom
  • Pull Weeds
  • Introduce Savings Account idea
  • Reading with Comprehension
  • Proper Table Manners/Etiquette (wait to sit until women have been seated)
  • Money Management (Savings/Spending/Tithe)
  • Be able to Sweep properly
  • Take a written phone message
  • Cut up own meat, pancakes, etc with sharp knife
  • Change Bedsheets
  • Be able to help a younger sibling get dressed and ready for the day

Age 8

  • Get up by self with alarm clock
  • Do Own Hair & Nails
  • Personal Talent Development
  • Clean Mirrors/Windows
  • Read Scriptures Alone (Daily)
  • Sex Talk?
  • Be able to Care for Pet
  • How to Build a Fire/Use a pocket knife
  • Follow simple recipe
  • Set Table Properly
  • Fold Clothes Neatly without Wrinkles

Age 9

  • Mop
  • Cook/Bake with Recipe
  • Emergency Prep (what to do in earthquake, tornado, fire)
  • First Aid basics
  • Fill Car with Gas
  • Wash Car (In & Out)
  • Basic Building Skills (Tool Introduction)
  • Prepare Salads & Vegetables
  • Write Letters
  • Use Email (Adults monitor account)

Age 10

  • Basic Sewing (Buttons/Mending)
  • Exercise Routinely
  • Clean Stove & Oven
  • Wrap Presents
  • Survival/Hunting skills
  • Memorize Chapters of Bible
  • Replace light bulbs and understand wattage
  • Distinguish between good and spoiled food
  • Understand ingredient and nutrient labeling
  • Know how to select good fruits and vegetables
  • Be able to do family laundry (or fair share)
  • Learn to tie a Tie

Age 11

  • Know a variety of knots
  • Be a helper in church ministry (nursery, communion, etc)
  • Clean Fridge/Pantry/Closets
  • Begin Meal Planning (rounded dinners with healthy main dishes and sides)
  • Cook Entire Meal
  • Ironing
  • Mower & Weed Wacker
  • Garden Planning and Maintenance
  • Camera Use and Editing skills
  • Knit/Crotchet/Cross-Stitching introduction for girls

Age 12

  • Current Events & Politics
  • Follow Newspaper/Radio
  • Public Speaking Skills
  • Beginning Genealogy Introduction
  • Be able to find, price-check, and order a needed item online
  • Price Matching in stores
  • Check Fluids in Car
  • Painting Interior or Exterior of Home
  • Short-period Babysitting
  • Clothes Altering
  • Use Monitored Internet

Age 13

  • Party Planning
  • Advanced Cooking Class
  • Grocery Shopping Skills
  • Own Budget Book
  • Learn how to Pay Bills
  • Bank Deposit/Withdrawal/ATM
  • CPR Certification
  • Type fluently
  • Be able to analyze a Movie’s worldview
  • Memorize SS#
  • Make Up Introduction (for girls)
  • Personal Defense Skills
  • Be able to navigate local area with and without a map

Age 14

  • Basic Int. Decorating
  • Debit Card
  • Interest/Debt/Securities
  • Identify Areas of Career Interest and Encourage those skills
  • Advanced Politics/Law
  • Accompany Parent to Vote
  • Change Flat Tire
  • Basic Mechanics
  • Basic Home Repairs
  • Memorize Books of Bible
  • Clean/Reorganize Garage/Closets Independently
  • Sell Items on Internet
  • Get FOID card, Take Firearm Classes

Age 15

  • Career & College Prep
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Resume Prep
  • Driver’s Permit/Practice
  • Follow Complex Assembly Instructions or Youtube tutorials
  • Plan and Build Something with Dad

Age 16

  • Get License!
  • College/Career Prep
  • Arrange for Car Insurance
  • Cell Phone & Pay for it!
  • Checking Account
  • Get a Job!
  • Drive safely and responsibly enough that Mom and Dad trust you to escort others

What do you think of this list? Share in the comments!

25 thoughts on “The Ages 1-16 Plan

  1. lina says:

    Thanks for these lists ! I don’t have much time on hand so only read lists for my younger 3 .
    My 16 yr old would love to drive now but in Egypt it is not untill 18.She is excited to get her ID though .
    My 13 yr old already knows how to cook a few things like pasta and eggs LOL but she’s recently asked me to teach her to cook whole meals with desserts during summer vacation.
    My 10 yr old likes to exercise with me and he would love to learn how to tie a tie 🙂

    What we have diferently here ( and it is sad that we have it ) is that kids as young as 4 have their own smart phones .we can’t let our kids be the ONLY ones without phones in school and club.But they use them mainly for ways other than talking .

    • I'm Kelsey! says:

      Families are so different and I’m sure being on the other side of the world has its differences as well! Egypt, wow! 😉

  2. Meredith says:

    I love this and have bookmarked it. I have four children from 20 years down to 2 years and your goals are very similar to ours. Having reared one to adulthood, I can confirm they are capable of this level of responsibility and learning. Obviously we all flex as individual needs and temperaments vary. So as an older mom I want to encourage you to keep at it! The Lord will direct any changes as needed, but being intentional helps you think through priorities before being caught unawares. In the end, He will direct. Again, great job thinking it through and proactively parenting.

  3. Reminded me we need to come up with fire escape plan for our apartment, especially with the impending birth of our firstborn.

  4. Michal says:

    So, I just read the “apology” post and then the list…. I think you summed it up at the beginning when you said something about ” current social expectations.” I have 5 kids, I find that your list is very similar to my desires for my babies. Sorry some people were so negative but know that as a mom I desire for my kids to be prepared for life at age 18. I want to see a heathy young adult that can handle life responsibly while they are still under my roof. I find that parents who don’t require these basic needs for everyday life, are the same parents that have 30yr old “kids” moving back home. So, good job good list! I found a few things in it I hadn’t though of yet. God bless

  5. sacampbell says:

    As the mother of a 22 yo, a 19 yo, and a 17 yo I think this is an excellent list. Too many parents just drift, you have to have a plan to aim for.

  6. Ashley says:

    I loved your post about yearly goals. How do we expect our kids to e goal oriented if we do not show them what that’s like?! Every child is different and not all my be achieved on those marks, some may be early or late but I love, love, love the idea of striving for them!!

  7. Sasha says:

    What awesome ideas! I love this and will definitely put the early ages into use!

  8. Michelle says:

    I love this! We have an 8 and 2 year old – and thought some of them seem lofty – there are other areas where they have excelled. I think you have set amazing goals! I may even print it out and adjust it to our boys!

  9. Rachel A. says:

    I love this. I think that some of these I am failing at my kids are young 2, 4, and 8 months but definitely things I want to work on. Having them written down is a huge help. Goals that are not written down rarely are accomplished. On the otherhand, they are also a good reminder when we get frustrated with our younger kids that they are perhaps to young to be mastering THAT skill.

  10. Yes.Interesting list to say the least. I think its great to have these goals. For the most part I think they are completely realistic and actually on some goals i thought they could have been in an earlier age category. IE Age 6: Pouring milk/juice… with the right container they can start at 3 and be awesome at it by 4…. but its really just about giving them opportunity and remember they are going to spill it …what another wonderful opportunity to teach them how to clean! But for me since I have 5 that are all very young, the older ones learned how to do things earlier than what is typically expected. You are doing great and i have no doubt that God will bless your family and
    accomplish these goals with your faithfulness and perverseness.

  11. Now that O is 1 1/2, I have been thinking about schooling and goals more and remembered these lists. What would you add, subtract, or change about these lists above? I’m still liking the ideas but am interested in more, or feedback on how it’s going. 😉

  12. Sudha says:

    Hi Kelsey, this is a great post. I have pulled this up for my kid as well, and customizing for our home, Thanks for the list 🙂

  13. Melanie says:

    Hi I just found your blog today after reading your Screwtape article in No Greater Joy magazine. Loved that. Just thought I’d support you with these age list goals. My kids are 10, 8, 6, 3, and 2. I would say those goals are right on for their ages. Great foresight! It’s fun to teach our kids life skills and even better when they can do a lot of work willingly and happily!

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