As a parent, I consider it my responsibility to teach my children the skills they need to succeed in life. Sure, schools and teachers can help with subjects like trigonometry, biology, and world geography – but when it comes to the practical, hands-on skills you use to navigate day-to-day life, that’s on us.
Spending more time at home with my kids has given me more time to teach them some of these life skills. It’s also shown me where they’ve already built up some experience – and where I could do a little better as a parent. I’m excited to see what progress we make over the next few months.
Not sure what life skills you should be teaching your kids? Here are some life skills I think all kids should get a solid grasp of before leaving home:
This one seems simple, but it’s surprising to see how many parents keep their kids out of the kitchen altogether. Instead of asking your kids to steer clear, encourage them to get involved and contribute to family meals. You’d be amazed to see just how capable kids can be in the kitchen if given a little guidance and forgiveness when they mess up.
Whether you challenge your little ones to help prep the salad, whip up homemade cookies for dessert, or tackle a family-favorite entree, you’re helping them learn a valuable life skill – how to cook for themselves.
Is your child old enough to drive – or will they be soon? If so, you have to teach them critical car care and maintenance. I’m not saying they need to be able to swap an engine, troubleshoot a broken alternator, or otherwise tackle complicated mechanical projects. But they do need to know how to put air in the tires, swap a flat for a spare, and add more wiper fluid. They also need to know when to get an oil change – and when it’s time to take the car in for preventative maintenance or repairs.
Why schools don’t teach the basics of money management is a mystery to me, but it’s important to set your kids up for financial success. You can start when they’re young by getting them a savings account. As they grow older, you can use that as a starting point to show them how interest works, the importance of planning for big purchases instead of taking on debt, and other lessons. From how to write a check to understanding how credit works, there’s a lot your little one should know before they’re on their own.
HOW TO CLEAN UP
You’d be amazed to see how many parents don’t make their kids lift a finger around the home. While this might work out when they’re young, this won’t be sustainable when they’ve moved into their first apartment and are forced to share space with others. They’ll need to know how to do laundry, wash dishes, and keep a bathroom clean – and that’s just to start.
Instead of setting your kid up for failure, teach them to stay on top of chores when they’re little. A chore chart can be a great way to keep track of your kid’s contributions around the house. And when they’re older? It’s amazing how motivating a small allowance can be when you need a little help around the house.
As you know, these are just a few of the life skills your child needs to succeed on their own in the world – but they’re some of the most important. Consider what you’re doing to teach your kids these skills and find ways to close whatever gaps you find in their knowledge. After all, right now, we’ve got nothing but time.