What I Want Them To Know

My children don’t have a chance to be resourceful. In the community I live in they have no need to do some basic things that other kids in other situations do. This is either because of how we live, or because of where we live. Most houses have hired help here in Saudi regardless of the size of the house or the finances of the family. A maid’s starting salary monthly is only about $400. The point is I have decided to make a mental list (or here a digital one) of the things I want my children to learn how to do.

1- Cook. They don’t need to be master chefs but I want them to know enough about where their food comes from, how to cook basic things and not ruin them, how to use an oven and other kitchen appliances, how to cut up food and use use sharp kitchen tools effectively. This will help them when they go to college so that they do not end up living off pasta and cappuccino as I did!

2- Use public transportation and read maps. Two things they don’t have to do here ever. We don’t have  proper public transportation to speak of and thanks to GPS navigators no need for maps. Besides, Riyadh roads are pretty straight forward and most directions sound like this “go to takhasusi road north till you come to the flower shop called blahdi blah then turn right and go straight ahead take the third left and it’s the blue gate on the right.” So this is something I have to work on when we’re traveling. It shouldn’t be too difficult. I was a total and utter idiot trying to use the tube when I was in london and having the people behind me at the automated ticket thing want to kill me while I stared at  all the lines on the map trying to find out which ticket I needed.

3- Learn how to pay bills. Yes, this is important because it is a skill I also didn’t have to deal with while I lived at my parents house and don’t have to deal with now (except for my mobile bill which I pay online with a click on a button). I learned how to do that when I lived in London again after I got married. All the other house bills here my husband deals with (which I am grateful for) I am not completely useless though I do handle the grocery budget relatively competently lol. But I want my kids to know how it works, how to budget for certain expenses and manage their money. They can start by managing their mobile phone bills (once they are old enough to get a mobile that is). Later on we can give them a more active role in managing the household expenses.

4- How to travel. Meaning: How to book plane tickets, how to pack properly, how to make sure you have all the documents needed for your travel, how to arrange accommodation and transportation on the other side. My sisters and I have always been good at this since we have traveled on our own a lot since a relatively young age. The first time I traveled on my own I was about 14 and you could throw us in the middle of any airport and we’ll sort our selves out.

5-Do their washing. I am terrible at this! In this region of the world almost every house has some sort of hired help as salaries here are very affordable so you don’t have to be super rich to have house help. Therefor we have never really learned how to wash our own clothes. I can iron stuff and not burn them 9 times out of 10. I want my kids to know how to use a washing machine and not ruin everything they own.

6- All my kids need to learn how to drive. Meaning the boys actually have to take proper lessons and my daughter needs to do so as well. Women are bound to drive here by the time she turns 16 and she will have to have a good foundation and learn good driving sense as well as basic car maintenance.

7-How to be Organized! This is a skill that needs to be taught. How to take care of their things, organize their school papers, keep lists to track tasks that need to be done. etc. This is particularly difficult when you live in a city where everyone has domestic help. Most of the time things are cleared away before the children have a chance to do it. And no matter how many times I explain that the kids have to do it it seems to get done by someone else!


  1. I love the list, will totally help with the cooking. Have loads of family friendly 30 minute recipes that we can do with the kids. I would add teaching the kids to have a vision board. Clearing out stuff. Giving regularly to sadaga. And growing your own food. 😎

    • i just might take you up on that. I cannot cook! I can get around the kitchen and if I had to and there was no other choice I wouldn’t starve. I can follow a recipe but for some reason everything I cook doesn’t work out as planned! I am looking up vision boards. And what kind of food can they grow on their own here??

      • Shoofi, when I get back from our trip which I shall not name incase I jinx it, I promise to come round with groceries and you and I shall cook!! and you will be good, everyone can cook, you just don’t know it yet, and I am sure no one has shown you how. So how do the following items sound?
        – Chicken and Mushroom pie, with mash and veg
        – Beef in Oyster Sauce with rice
        – Shepards pie
        – Sweet and sour chicken, or shrimp with egg fried rice
        – Roasted Chicken, roast potatoes, roast broccoli and grave
        – A hefty Chicken salad
        – Chinese Chicken and corn soup
        – Curry in a Hurry
        – Katsu Chicken (a wagamama special)
        – Chicken with Cashew nuts
        – Stew for the cold nights ahead

        – English pancakes with sugar and lemon
        – Dump cake – I swear we can make it in five minutes
        – Chocolate cups with orange zest
        – Rock cakes!!

        all of the above can be prepared and cooked in LESS THAN 30 minutes, and once you get the hang of a few things, and you get confident and comfortable in your own kitchen, you are goooood to go. you just say when!!

    • No :( although I Spent a total of 6 years living in London I never got around to it. Big busses in London scare me! And I always imagined myself stuck for days trying to get from park lane into hyde park gate. You know the bit loool.

  2. Great list ..
    Im thankful that i had my mum .. I was taught most of these things when i was young! Yet i didn’t master the laundry and ironing till i went to Austarlia and had to do it everyday for me and my husband :\ but it was a nice experience alhamdulela :)

  3. I was taught all this stuff by mom, and I am glad you see it as important. Something else my mom used to make us do was dishes and cleaning the washroom (yes even with help in the house). So we wouldn’t be entirely disgusted with the idea when we had no one but ourselves to do things. I do have a question, how old would a kid have to be to start handling a knife? Things like that scare me now.. and I am not sure I ever want to see my kids with a knife. lol.. and a dull knife won’t do the job.. right? :D

    • I expect my 9 year old to be cutting up stuff at this point. When he started earlier this year he had a small cut on his hand from cutting lemons. Obviously I wouldn’t give him a butchers knife or anything ridiculously big or sharp but cutting vegetable with a small sharp knife should be ok. As long as they are taught to use the knife and cut properly.

  4. Assalamualaikum.

    Please EVERYONE do this ….

    US govt. is holding a Public poll to initiate and implement a law against the disrespect of Prophets.
    Nabi Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam,
    Nabi Esa Alaihisalam,
    and Nabi Musa Alaihisalam.

    Kindly sign that petition, they require 25,000 signitures till 17th October.

    Link: http://links.causes.com/s/clD7RJ?r=z3ep



    • Thank you so much. I’m trying but trust me you’re not here day to day. I have been on such a short fuse today with all the kids it’s not fair really but I try and don’t aways succeed.

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