This was in response to Premeditated Parenting 39: Summer Schedule
Question: What do you with the younger ones (I have a three year old and I want her to not sit and watch TV!)? A friend of mine has attended one of Kathleen’s Motherhood studies. She said there is a list of different things children should be able to do at different ages. I would be very interested in seeing that, if you are able.
Response: I think the handout below is probably the one your friend was referring to. We are two years down the road now, and each kid has bumped up to the next level. Each one will be a little different. Our current 5 ½-year-old is just beginning to read, whereas our last one was an early and aggressive reader. Our current 19-month-old is being actively trained, but I wouldn’t say he’s quite as obedient as our last one. He’s got lots of spunk, and we’ve got lots of work ahead of us.
We’ve also been using a new Bible memory program, so our younger ones now know a lot more than our younger ones did 2 years ago. Our 5 ½ year old knows 40 verses, our 7 ½ and 9 ½-year-olds each know 60 verses, and our 11 ½ year old knows about 100 verses. However, by the time our current 5 ½ year old is 11 ½ she should know over 200. That’s not earth-shattering by any means. However, we like the program because we’re teaching our kids a lot more than we were two years ago, and it hasn’t been very much more effort. I’ll tell you more about that program someday as well.
I didn’t go through and update all the kids, but I did add another age group at the end to carry the cycle a little further.
I hope you find this helpful…
These standards are certainly not what each of our children does all the time, but they are ones that they are capable of. Our purpose in sharing these is not to set up our children as the ideal, because they are not. The purpose is just to give some frame of reference as to what you can expect from different age groups.
- Steve and Kathleen Nelson
Malia (18 months)
• Sit down in her highchair when told to
• Come when asked to
• Sit still in my lap for 10 minutes (no fussing or touching my keyboard)
• Stay on a blanket for 30 minutes without getting off (can play with toys or watch a video, but may not fuss)
• Stay in a room when told to
• Refrain from touching off limit items (plants, TV, stove, outlets, keyboard, etc…)
• Will stay in bed
(There is a huge difference between 1 ½ years and 3 ½ years due to continued training and communication abilities.)
Keziah (3 ½)
• Can do simple tasks and favors. (get me a pop, throw away a piece of trash, go get a Kleenex, etc…)
“Be mommy’s helper”
• Can help pickup toys
• Play in room quietly
• Lay down quietly even if not sleeping
• Obeys when we say “no words”
• Will work to control emotions (tries to suck it up, can cry quietly)
• Will try new foods and eat what she’s told to.
• Help bring groceries in
• Will not demand her own way and win
(There is a huge difference between 3 ½ years and 5 ½ years due to continued training, physical , and mental abilities.)
Silas (5 ½)
• Helps quite a bit around the house (helps with sweeping, dishes, pickup, etc…)
• Can fold and put away own laundry
• Can completely pick up a room nicely by himself
• Can help entertain younger children
• Can stop in the middle of a task he enjoys to do something that is asked of him (not always joyfully at first)
• Can sit quietly and read a book or do a task for 30 minutes or more
• Often reads from children’s short story Bible (claims he read the O.T!)
• Can politely answer phone (“Hello, Nelsons. Would you like to talk to my mom or dad?…One moment please.”)
• Knows major Bible stories
• Has 10-15 verses memorized
Hope (7 ½)
• Significant help around the house (sweeping, can load and unload dishes, pickup, etc…)
• Can sort out a load of laundry and load it, run it, transfer it to dryer, fold it, and put it away
• Can play with children with an outreach mindset or sit next to a new kid in Sunday school instead of next to her friends
• Diligent worker
• Reads from Children’s Bible
• Knows major Bible stories well. Knows many minor Bible stories.
• Has 15-20 verses memorized (Familiar with others)
Blaise (9 ½)
• Significant help around house—almost like having another adult. He can even motivate other kids to help at times. He can pick up a whole floor completely, sweep and mop by himself, dishes, laundry, etc... (He just started mowing the yard, but needs lots of grace )
• Will self start at times – read on own, clean up to surprise us, do homework, etc…
• Will obey without demanding to know the “whys” (trusts mom and dad’s judgment)
• Can prioritize siblings over peers
• Still disobeys at times, but wrestles to do right (Much like I do!)
• Will frequently confess his sins before he is caught
• Has own quiet times from a New Century Version Bible
• Knows major and minor Bible stories and details well (Knows all the judges, many of the kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, parables, etc…)
• Has 45 verses memorized (Familiar with many others)
• Shows spiritual concern for others, invites people to church.
Blaise (11 ½)
• Can do most chores and responsibilities that an adult can do.
• Can mow the yard.
• Does babysitting for a small group (where adults are still in the home). He also baby-sits for us for short periods of time while we run errands or take a walk around the park.
• Is doing some odd jobs like taking care of the neighbor’s house while they are on vacation.
• Serves as a Sunday school helper in church.
• Serves as a Power Point operator at church.
• Can keep track of own responsibilities and events with minimal supervision: what day to take out trash, when he is scheduled to serve at church, what night he baby-sits, etc...
• Has taken an outreach class and learned to share his faith. He has done so on a handful of occasions.
• Tries to engage his friends in spiritual conversations.
• Has consistent quiet times. (at least 4 days a week with mom and dad, some other adults, and Hope (9 ½). We all read, pray, or memorize for 40 minutes and then for the last ten minutes we share what we read.)
• Has 100 verses memorized well.
• Shows spiritual concern for others, invites people to church.
• Academic: responsible for managing his own school
• Reads and finishes a book within a designated time frame
• Has a list of 15 responsibilities (academic, spiritual, chores, relationships, etc.) that he is responsible to complete every day with no parental oversight.