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10 Things Parents Should Make Their Children Do

Kris Manley is a blogger, author, and speaker. She's a guest on radio in the U.S., Canada, and overseas, as well as a guest on network TV.


When children are really young parents have such a tight reign on them, but it seems as children mature those parental reigns loosen. Parental reigns should always be in place, but gently guide their children a little differently as they mature. I remember when my parents made me do certain things I did not want to do, but when it was all said and done, I was glad they made me do those things – what were they? Volunteer, going to camp, going to church with them, and learning to sew, just to name a few. Children today are so preoccupied with technology, celebrities, and reality TV, but what about world view, financial responsibility, behavior management, character building, and giving to others? Some parents seem a little hesitant about making their children do certain things because it might offend the child, but who are the parents here? Children don't and can't raise themselves.

Think about how your child would benefit from these 10 activities.

News Anchor

News Anchor

1. Depending on the child’s age, have him or her watch a half hour of the evening news at least twice per week with Mom and Dad. Children need to know what is going on in the world in which they live. If they have any questions about what they saw they can do research on the Internet to get more answers, or ask Mom and Dad. Having your child watch the news is helping them become "glocal" (global and local) minded. Having your child watch the news may help form a view of how they can help improve or contribute to making the world a better place in which to live.

Girl giving a speech

Girl giving a speech

2. Take a speech class which is certainly needed in our society. What is speech class? Speech class is what it implies - learning how to write speeches and learning to communicate in front of a group or one on one. In speech class your child will learn that there are different ways to write a speech - informative, demonstrative, and persuasive. A speech class will help improve your child's vocabulary and help them to be more confident in their language. Speech class will also help your child to enunciate their words better. There are fun games that your child can play in speech class as well. For the younger child games like naming animals, naming colors, and role playing are great to help improve a child's speech. For the older child games in speech class may include explaining how to put something together, telling about a positive life experience, or interviewing one another.

3. Own some type of pet - don't stop reading! Get a pet that is low maintenance. Why should a child own a pet? Here are some reasons:

  • Pets are good listeners when your child needs to vent.
  • Most pets love unconditionally.
  • A pet helps a child learn how to take care of a living thing.
  • A pet gives a child something to love other than Mom, Dad, sister, or brother.
  • Statistics have proven that pets help to lower blood pressure.
  • Pets provide companionship and reduce feelings of loneliness.


4. Take a class on fiscal responsibility. With the right financial class children can learn about Roth IRAs, savings, and investing. Of course some of these classes may be too advanced, so children can start off playing money games which a lot are offered on-line, and these games make learning about money fun and exciting. Money games that can be helpful to kids are:

5. Take a class on how to start a business. Have your child research other youth who have built successful businesses. Purchase your child a book on how to start a business.

6. Take a tour of a youth detention center. This can most certainly deter any adverse behavior that parents might see evolving in their child. Contact your local Police Department to see if there are any programs for kids. There are times when Police Officers will come to schools for career day and talk about having to deal with young people, and what can happen to them in jail or prison.

Pre-teen in youth detention center

Pre-teen in youth detention center

Teen in youth detention center

Teen in youth detention center

7. Take a cooking class. As your child gets older he or she might not be so prone to eat out all the time if he or she knew how to cook, and especially cook the things they enjoy eating. There are free cooking classes in every city you just have to find them. Check out this Chef's Academy for kids, if it's in your area.

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8. Read the biography of a successful person. A lot of times someone else’s success can inspire and encourage. Have your child research the life of a successful person and document what they like about what that person accomplished, and how what they did impacted them.

9. Learn how to write checks. Yes, some people still write checks, and if you're one of those people then your child should know how as well. Have your child write out the checks for bills and leave them for you to sign. Teach them that a safe way to deposit a check someone gives them is not only to sign the back of the check, but to write "For Deposit Only" on the back too. Teach your child to keep checks safe by putting them under lock and key. Use this cool website to teach your kids how to write a check.

10. Take a Self Defense class. Nowadays, this is a necessity. With the onset of bullying, it would be an excellent idea for our children to learn to defend themselves. It's not for them to be the bully, but to be proactive in their own preservation. To encourage your child to take a self defense class, take the class with them. Research your local youth organizations or your local Police Department which may offer five to eight week classes with each class lasting one to one and half hours.


Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on November 10, 2012:

Hi ExpectGreatThings, I owned a pet hamster and took a speech class. I hated the speech class, but when I got older, I saw the need for it.

ExpectGreatThings from Illinois on November 09, 2012:

I appreciate this list because it is not the things one usually thinks about. I agree with you on all of them, especially the financial class! I am interested to know why you didn't include anything from the list of what your parents used to make you do, though.

Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on November 09, 2012:

Thanks Joyette

Joyette Helen Fabien from Dominica on November 08, 2012:

Great suggestions! Only, one must be mindful of the child's age. We must introduce them to new things at different ages and stages.

Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on October 31, 2012:

Hi Esther, I agree with you, the news is a great conversation starter. Thanks

Esther Strong from UK on October 30, 2012:

I too like the idea of watching the news with your children - a great conversation starter I should think. Voted up etc.

Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on October 18, 2012:

Thanks, I think I might try Capitalism 2 for myself.

Joe from Pennsylvania, USA on October 18, 2012:

Great list. I agree with every one. On a gaming note, I've recently played Capitalism 2. It might be a little wonky for a child, but it's fun when you learn the ropes. You can build retail stores, factories, mining camps, R&D centers, apartment buildings and you can also buy and sell stock/companies on the stock exchange. It's a great way to see financial statements come to life while building a company.

Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on October 18, 2012:

Hi SpeakUpStandOut, thanks.

Criss from Southern California on October 17, 2012:

These are all good suggestions. I think kids who are exposed to the world and whose parents talk to them about difficutl topics, turn out to be more well rounded as well as smart. Good post!

Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on October 15, 2012:

Thanks ElleBee

ElleBee on October 15, 2012:

These are great ideas for things children should learn. Many of them are things I already studied in school, but I think that doing them as a family as well can definitely be an extra reinforcement. If people are concerned that children will see less than desirable things on the tv news, they can always encourage them to read the newspaper, find a child-appropriate news website or listen to the radio.

Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on October 04, 2012:

Hi iguidenetwork, thanks.

iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on October 04, 2012:

Tho some suggestions are a bit unusual, like taking your child to a juvenile detention, there's no doubt that I approve all of them in the list. It's also good to watch the evening news with the kids, as encouraging them to give out opinions on what they see, and parents will guide them if the news are of violent nature. Very well-written hub, Kristine. :)

Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on August 26, 2012:

Hi Mari, what you said is the key - "not just try to make them (kids) happy all the time."

Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on August 26, 2012:

Hi gmwilliams, thanks. Sometimes I think children feel entitled because some parents, not all, don't make their children do certain things that will help them be better individuals as well as be self-sufficient.

Mari Koeck on August 25, 2012:

I totally agree. I hope I can raise my kids to know how to thrive in a complex world, not just try to keep them happy all the time.

Grace Marguerite Williams from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on August 25, 2012:

These are great suggestions and I totally concur with you a multillion percent! These are survival skills which each child needs to have. There are parents who prefer to take the easy way out of course. They prefer to let their children choose what they "want" to do, figuring that they will grow into having initiative. It is as if these children will absorb the rudiments of success, achievement, and good behavior by osmosis.

Yes, there are many parents who believe that children should raise themselves and/or their older siblings should raise them. These parents relay that they "worked hard" and "they are too tired to teach their children." Such parents are totally abysmal to say the least. Parenting involves responsibility and teaching in addition to constant involvement. Great hub, voted up!

Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on August 25, 2012:

Hi Glimmer Twin Fan, Thank you. I took a speech class and it helped me so much as a child.

Kristine Manley (author) from Atlanta, GA on August 25, 2012:

Hi teaches12345, I once visited a jail - that made me think twice about acting up. Thanks

Dianna Mendez on August 25, 2012:

My teacher's heart is saying, Yes, yes, yes, to all of your suggestions. If parents capitalized on these tips their kids would be awesome leaders in society! Great hub and voted way up.

Claudia Porter on August 25, 2012:

Interesting suggestions. I love the one to take a speech class. Very important skill to have is public speaking, even if it's in front of 5 people. Wish I had done something like that.

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