15 Things You Must Introduce To Your Children Early

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” 

I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before. It is one of the oldest proverbial sayings in the English language. And if my attempt at learning to play the piano is any indication, those words have some validity (although I’d rather not be lumped in with a dog).

Photo by psyberartist

Photo by psyberartist

Learning something new at an older age is often more difficult than if we are exposed to it when younger. Our brains become less plastic, less able to connect with the new.

Take for instance language. Research has shown that learning a second language becomes progressively harder after the age of 10. The same can be said for learning a new instrument. It isn’t impossible, but generally mastery takes longer as we age.

With this in mind, if we, as parents, are going to raise a generation of children who love the Lord, demonstrate integrity, and have servant hearts, it is important we encourage certain attributes from an early age.

So I’ve developed a list of 15 important things (however incomplete) I believe parents should introduce to their little ones (in no particular order):

  1. The triune God and His Word: Number 1
  2. Split pea soup: trust me, if not introduced early, there is no way this delicious soup will get to their lips
  3. Hair cuts by mom: no self-respecting teenager will sit through this unless trained early
  4. Board/card games: a must for family togetherness
  5. Respect, honesty, self-discipline and obedience: need I say more?
  6. The correct way to put toilet paper on the dispenser: very important
  7. Fresh underwear everyday: if you don’t train, they (I mean boys here) won’t do
  8. Prayer: in sync with Number 1
  9. Household chores: it will make your parenting job much easier
  10. Music: language of the soul
  11. Serving others: being the Lord’s hands and feet on earth—teach early
  12. Love: an actionable love, not just one of words 
  13. Noticing God’s amazing gift of grace: what makes a joyful life on this broken earth and eternal salvation possible
  14. Enjoyment of winter: come on, you can’t beat it, might as well join it
  15. The joys of family: if the above are implemented, this will be evident

While this (sometimes tongue-in-cheek) list includes some of the priority items children should be exposed to, it is far from complete. I’d love for you to add to it in the comments.

But as a word of caution, don’t use this idea of “earlier is better” as an excuse not to begin introducing this list to your children if you haven’t yet—or to not try something new yourself. After all, Moses began leading an escape at the age of 80, Abraham became a new father at age 100, and Noah took on the task of building an ark at the ripe young age of 500+ (yes, you read that correctly, 500-plus—see, no excuse now!).

You’ll never know what you’ve missed if you never try. And you just may discover the joy of putting toilet paper on the roll the correct way (sheets coming over the top). Not to mention, all is possible with the Lord!

Whatever your list looks like, don’t wait. Now is the best time to begin.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Q4U: What items did I miss? What would you add to my list? On the flip side, is there a task you are begging off as being too old?

By His grace ≈


Linking with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience in 2013 for my Joy Dare list  for Multitude Mondays (#1476–1493, read them all by clicking here):

  • AppearanceWalking w/ my boys looking for shed antlers; Yummy chocolates from hubby; An answer to many prayers–God is faithful!
  • Gift of repentance; Wed.evening Lenten service in our small sister church; My children actively participating in worship
  • Finding lost passwords; Quiche for supper–yum; A nearly full day of work w/ only a few interruptions
  • Honest feedback; Chaperoning our jazz performers; Scarves–functional and fun
  • The ability to have a “mobile” office when needed; Grace of some super speech coaches; Peacefulness of my bedroom
  • A son’s passion for the Lord; Attending a church where Biblical truth is proclaimed; Potluck!

Also linking with the following wonderful sites:



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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

8 comments on “15 Things You Must Introduce To Your Children Early
  1. Jan says:

    Great post, Julie…except that toilet paper MUST go under instead of over! 🙂

  2. Beth says:

    Neat post, Julie. I’d add “Love for other cultures.” There have been some really interesting studies about how children are basically born with tendencies toward racism, and you have to fight that really early on by explicitly talking about differences. (Like, “See how Ammanuel’s skin is the color of coffee? That’s because his family comes from a different part of the world than our family.”) We think it’s really important that our daughter comes with us when we teach ESL to refugees or visit our international friends. I want her to learn very early to respect differences in culture!

  3. Great list, Julie! I agree with Beth – a love for other cultures.

  4. Yes on number 6!

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