I have the best sisters (sis-in-law included) in the whole world!  I just love seeing them in action as they raise their children . . . which I got to do this last week as we had a mini-family reunion -- we were missing our sweet sissy Sarah though. :(  

There have been many conversations over the years about raising kids and our hopes and dreams for them.  Among these dreams that we all share for our children, is to teach them to be independent.

A friend of mine was telling me about her husband and what a great help he was to her around the house.  She said, "his mom taught him really well".  I left wondering what things I was teaching my sons (and daughters) "really well". 

Although I have really good intentions, I'm not so sure that I'm as on the ball with teaching independence as I need to be. 

I recently read a book that I just LOVED, and must share it!

It's called, "The Parenting Breakthrough", by Merrilee Boyack.

The Parenting Breakthrough

She shares all sorts of advice and tips to teach children to work, to learn new skills, to manage money, etc. 

She explains how to develop a "Master Plan" for training kids to be independent.  She has a couple of chapters on financial training.  She talks about establishing a "family identity", "family mottos", and shaping your "family environment".  I also liked her idea of making a "family timeline" with a 10 year projection, listing each family member and what they hope to be doing or accomplishing over the years (including family vacations, etc.).  This allows for better planning as you can see what's coming . . . like noticing that we only have 5 years left before our oldest son graduates from high school!  So we need to decide what we want to do, where we want to go, what goals we need to set, etc. before he's gone!

There are seriously so many things that I liked, that it's really hard to hightlight my favorites.  But another part she included was a BIG breakdown by age of ALL sorts of things kids should be able to do at each age, from 3 yrs. old to 18 yrs. old. 

I just went through these lists and made my own personal list for each of my children of things I'm planning on "training" them to do this summer.

Here's a sampling from her lists:

Dress self
Use toilet independently
Beginning to brush teeth
Pick up toys
Say prayers
Clean glass tables

Brush teeth
Make bed
Make own breakfast
Make sandwhiches
Beginning to clean room

Straighten room
Empty garbage cans
Set table
Clear table
Make own lunch
Warm up canned food
Get allowance

Take shower
Load dishwasher
Empty dishwasher
Clean sinks
Run microwave
Water plants
Make and answer phone calls

The lists get better and better as they get older . . . like having a savings account when they are seven; baking, sewing on a button, filling car with gas when they are nine; doing own laundry when they are ten; planning meals and making main dishes when they are eleven; etc, etc.

It's the kind of book you keep and use as a reference over the years -- I've already read several sections over and over again.  Of course you have to kind of put things into your own "context" for your family . . . her personality and her family are different from mine (we're not star wars fans, or die hard scouters), but most of what she shares is quite useful.

Anyway, just thought I'd share.  :)

Now let's go raise some independent children!!


  1. i LOVE this. i told brad all about it that night you told ME about it. it just gets me excited. this is exactly what i want for my children. i think this is a great way to build their self-confidence and get them ready for life as an adult. i can't wait to read it! thanks for the reference.

  2. Thanks for the book recommendation! I remember hearing the author speak at a time out for women (maybe the one in Dallas we went to together?) She had some awesome ideas that now I can't remember- so I should just get the book;) I'm adding it to my list!