We are constantly teaching our kids new skills every day as they grow into tiny humans, but are we covering all the basics that need to be passed on? Somehow, I grew up and left my parents’ home without knowing how to cook chicken, change a tire, or even properly clean my home.
If my parents had read an article similar to this one, maybe I’d be a much better cook today. Thank goodness for Pinterest.
It’s not too late for your kids – here are some life skills that every child should learn before they fly the nest (graduate high school and move the heck out).
When your children graduate high school and move out, they’re not going to have you there to cook them dinner every night. Sure, they might be able to pour a bowl of cereal or throw some pizza rolls in the oven, but we all know that’s not a very balanced meal.
When you’re cooking meals at home, try to include your kids and get them excited about what you’re creating. Let them sprinkle on seasoning or fill up the pots to boil water. When they’re involved in making dinner, they will feel more accomplished. This will not only boost their self esteem, but they will also start to understand all of the basics of cooking and flavor mixing.
Once they’ve helped you out with a few meals, let them create their own. Go to the grocery store and let them choose a grain or starch, a vegetable and a protein. Once you’re home, help them plan how they want to prepare each food.
If they picked out chicken, do they want to add a breading to it and bake it? Maybe they want to fry it in a pan with some vegetables. If they picked out asparagus, do they want to boil it or bake it with some garlic? For their grain, teach them how to properly cook it, and then let them sample different seasonings on small portions once it’s done cooking. Feel free to check Pinterest for some recipe inspiration.
2. HOME CLEANING
If you introduce the idea of cleaning to children around the age of 2, they will develop neat habits for the rest of their lives (hopefully). Begin by asking them to clean up their toys after they are done playing, or to throw their trash away. Gradually, they will do these tasks on their own and you won’t have to ask them as often to do so.
If you’re unsure of what chores your child should be doing at his or her own age, check out our blog post, “What Chores Your Child Should Be Doing at Each Age.”
Some of the main cleaning chores your child should understand as they grow up are laundry, folding clothes, washing dishes, sweeping, dusting, spraying/wiping counters and basic organization. This will help them to lead a sanitary and organized lifestyle in their adulthood.
3. MONEY MANAGEMENT
One of the most important skills that your children need to acquire in life is money management. You can plant this seed in their noggins by providing them with an allowance every week for completing chores. You can either offer a weekly flat rate, or pay per chore. Either way, this will become your child’s income.
Teach your children to keep their money in a jar or bag. Help them to understand that if they save up their money overtime instead of spending it as soon as they earn it, they can afford the more exciting and expensive items.
Take them to the toy store, and let them pick out something that they might want to start saving for; don’t buy it that day. Let them know how much they need to earn in order to get their desired toy, and help them figure out what chores they need to do in order to afford it.
Your children will be so excited about the toy that they’ll be counting their money every day. This will help greatly with their math skills.
In their teenage years, they will want to spend their money on other things like clothing from the mall or movie tickets. Gradually, they will learn how to budget properly and sacrifice one item for a more important one.
There are millions of dangerous people in the world. Instead of becoming a helicopter parent and raising a bubble child, you can give your children the resources to learn how to defend themselves.
Martial arts classes are a wonderful way to not only teach your child self-defense, but it will also improve their self-confidence and discipline.
5. TIME MANAGEMENT
There’s nothing worse than a school morning where someone sleeps in too late and holds up the whole carpool. I was definitely guilty of this when I was in elementary school. Every morning, my mom would come wake me up nicely and I’d go right back to sleep. Thirty minutes later, she would find out that I’m not awake yet, so then she’d come wake me up again. Back to sleep I’d go.
It was a miracle if we ever made it to school on time. To this day, I’m always at least 10 minutes late to everything. If I could go back in time and parent myself, I would have enforced some more self-discipline when it came to time management.
If your child has a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, try this. Every morning, when you wake your child up, turn on the light and take the blanket off of the bed. If he/she has a phone, take it with you into the kitchen.
Time management practice should start at an early age. You can begin by creating a personal calendar for your child, as well as a family calendar. It’s important to write down everything that needs to get done that day, and the times each task should start. It’s important to help them establish daily priorities. Make sure to schedule free time so that your child doesn’t get overwhelmed or tempted to give into distractions.
Swimming is not only a wonderful way to get outside and exercise, but it also can save your child’s life under certain circumstances.
Many parents enroll their babies into swimming classes when they are around 6 months. It’s important for your young children to know how to swim in case they are every in a situation where they need to swim to stay above water (duh, everyone knows that).
…but did you know that only 56 percent of Americans can successfully complete the five core swimming skills? These skills are “jumping/stepping into water over one’s head, returning to the surface to tread water or float for one minute, circling around and identifying an exit, swimming 25 yards to that point and then exiting the water” (Time Health).
Some key skills for your kids to learn when they get older are holding their breath under water, treading water for more than a minute and swimming long distances.
7. BASIC FIRST AID
Unfortunately, you won’t always be nearby when your children get hurt. Tell your kids that if they ever have an emergency, call 911. Teach them to calmly and clearly tell the operator what happened and where they are located. If your child is too young to know your address, keep it written on a piece of paper either near the phone or on your fridge.
If your children ever see blood, teach them to put pressure on it with a cloth item to stop the bleeding. If someone else is bleeding, tell your child to tell the friend to put pressure on the wound so that another person’s blood won’t get on your child. If the friend can’t do it alone, tell your child to put a plastic bag on his or her hand first.
CPR is a wonderful and useful skill for everyone to have. Kids usually don’t have enough strength to perform proper CPR until the age of 10, so once everyone in the family is old enough, you should find a training class for everyone to go to together.
Did someone get burned? Tell your child to get it to cold water immediately. After a few minutes, rub some aloe vera on the injured area.
If your children have a small cut, teach them to wash their hands, apply Neosporin, and wrap it with a Band-Aid.
8. OUTDOOR SURVIVAL
This is unlikely, but imagine your child gets stranded in a forest or on an island. Maybe he or she will get lost during a camping trip or hike, and it takes days to the car or a road. This sounds crazy, but there are always stories in the news where people have to survive by themselves with limited resources.
A little more realistically, your child might go camping for fun.
Either way, your child should learn basic outdoor survival skills. These skills include starting a fire, knowing what plants are edible and what plants are poisonous, what water is okay to drink, and even what to do if your kids find themselves in a face off with a bear.
A great way for your kids to learn outdoor survival is to get them involved in a scout troop.
9. BASIC HOME REPAIRS
Wouldn’t it be nice if your kids could unclog their own toilets and change their lamp’s lightbulbs? Teaching your child how to perform tiny repairs in your home will not only teach them to be more independent, but it will make your life way easier, as well.
10. CAR MAINTENANCE
During my freshman year of college, I ran over a nail in my best friend’s apartment’s parking garage on my way home at 11 p.m.
Fortunately for me, I was with my college boyfriend, and he knew how to change a tire. He was able to replace the popped tire with the spare in my trunk (I had no clue it was there). Your children might not be so lucky to have someone with them in this situation, so you should teach them how to change a tire before they set out on the road alone.
Another useful skill for your kids to have is to know how to change a car’s oil. This will not only save your child time, but also some money.
Scout is dedicated to to the safety of your family. Learn how you can protect your children and always know where they are at findmyscout.com.