Raising independent kids: what can 9- and 10-year-olds do?

As a 9- or 10-year-old, your child is old enough to do lots of independent things, and wants to learn. It’s a funny age because they sometimes think they know everything. But they also desperately want to learn grown-up skills.

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  • As a 9- or 10-year-old, your child is old enough to do lots of independent things, and wants to learn. It’s a funny age because they sometimes think they know everything. But they also desperately want to learn grown-up skills.
We owe it to our children to teach and train them so that they will be well-prepared to be independent adults. A 9- or 10-year-old is ready to do this in earnest.



  • What can 9- and 10-year-olds do?

  • Cooking and Meal Prep

  • Kids this age can make several salads: let them be creative. They can bake cookies. Oh happy day! Your child will love this one! Help them learn to assemble ingredients and bake their own. Have even more fun by having daddy or grandma teach them how. These kids can even bake cakes — another happy day! Let them explore various recipes and practice this one often. And they can cook vegetables. Teach them to cook a variety and then let them cook the vegetable for dinner each night to practice.

  • Phone and Email

  • Teach them to place a collect call and a long distance call. Make sure they understand the difference between a cell phone and a land line, and which will work in which kind of emergency. If you have payphones in your area, teach them to use one just in case. Teach them to leave a polite voicemail. If they’re not already doing so, teach them how to use email safely.

  • Talents

  • This is a great age to introduce a musical instrument and let them try it. Look for resources in your community or borrow one from a friend. How about creative writing? This is a great age to let them write and write! Have them write stories on the computer to email to the grandparents. Have them write poetry or jokes or make comics or anything that encourages writing.

  • Personal Growth

  • Kids this age are old enough to set personal goals. Your child can greatly benefit from being taught to set goals and reach them. They can make their own chart, or choose from several online. Introduce journaling. Get your child a journal or notebook and teach them to jot down something every day. This is another great adult habit to establish young. Are they getting enough exercise? Help them put together their own exercise program. Better yet, get a friend to do this with them. Have them chart their progress. Daily exercise is an important adult habit. And what about writing letters? This is different than email and an important skill that will serve them well in their career. Have them write to grandma and grandpa every week. Have fun with it!

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  • Sewing, Sowing and Sawing

  • Saw wood and hammer nails — what 9- or 10-year old won’t love this? Give them their own hammer and saw and let them go for it. Teach them to sew buttons. Get some big buttons and needles to start them off. Have them sew lots and lots to really get the hang of it — boys included. And let them plant plants. Teach them how to plant seeds and small plants so they learn how. Take them to a local nursery and have them teach them how.

  • Basic nutrition

  • This is an important age to teach them the basics of diet and nutrition. Teach them about calories, fats, sugars, and chemicals and about healthy diets. There are lots of videos online that can help. Have them study and report to the family.

  • Cleaning and Household Chores

  • Kids this age can:

  • First Aid and Emergency preparedness

  • Play the “What If?” game and ask what if this happens — go through all kinds of emergency situations and talk about how you prepare for and react to it. Great for the whole family to participate. And now is a good time to have them learn first aid. If a class is available, take them to it. Or you can have a friend such as a nurse or fireman teach your child. This is great to review in a family meeting every four months.

  • Understands puberty and sex

  • It’s time for that dreaded conversation if you haven’t had it. But it doesn’t have to be hard. Get a good book on the topic or video (there’s lots available online) and go through it together. Make sure they can ask questions comfortably and bring up the topic more than just once so it’s an open discussion in your family. If appropriate to your culture, it’s best to have both mom and dad involved.

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At 9 and 10 years old, kids are really moving forward in their lives. Great parents can help teach and train them so they can make great strides in being independent. Enjoy!



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Merrilee Boyack is a mom of four sons, grandma to two and an attorney, author, and professional speaker.  

Website: http://www.MerrileeBoyack.com

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