You walk into your bathroom, and the toilet paper roller is empty. On the back of the toilet sits a new roll, put there by a previous visitor who apparently never mastered the task of replacing a roll of toilet paper. Reloading the dispenser is just one of those things that kids should learn, things that will stay with them throughout adulthood.
They don't pick up these life lessons by themselves; that's what parents are for. But when should the mystery of the toilet paper roll have been explained? When the child was 3? 10? Certainly by voting age. Here then, after consulting many experts, is a brief guide to some of the tasks kids need to learn, and when their parents should be teaching them. And, as they say in those diet ads, your results may vary.
HOUSEHOLDLaundry: fabric softener
SKILLS FOR LIFE
• Tie their shoes: Age 4.
FOOD AND DRINK
In the kitchen, there's no reason a 2- or 3-year-old can't help out, learning the basics of measuring and stirring, maybe even making their first peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich. A 4-year-old can learn to prepare a simple salad (scissor open the bag of prepared salad and pour on some dressing); at 10, a child can chop, slice and dice with supervision (even younger if you have a push-top dicer); by 11 kids should be able to make a grilled cheese sandwich.
ETIQUETTETelephone skills: phone etiquette
* At the table: By 4, they should know to chew with their mouth closed, use a napkin and excuse themselves.Navigate a multicourse dinner party: Meeting new people: