How to teach life skills to kids now
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As a 40 something adult, I watch these post that has #adulting and I’m like whhhaaat? Then I ask what did these Millenials miss that I had? Then my next question is how can I teach life skills to my kids now so they aren’t #adulting. (insert eye roll)
Being a mom of boys ages 9 & 11, I have taken it upon myself to train and teach life skills. I thought about this and I went to social media again to see what kind of skills my kids needed in order to be able to live out from under my roof.
I also thought about how when I was in junior high and high school I had home economics, and shop class and I had a budgeting class in high school that I had to take in order to graduate. These classes taught me life skills that I still use today. These classes are no longer offered in schools anymore.
So parents need to teach life skills to kids like how to cook, clean, hammer, saw and how to balance a checkbook.
This is my quick list of what I am training my kids to be able to do.
Wash and Fold Laundry
Laundry is a never-ending chore that always has to be done. We started with teaching them how to use the washer and dryer. Then we slowly started to teach them how to fold laundry, match socks and hang them up. They are a pro now and in the summer I expect them to wash and fold their own laundry.
Clean a bathroom
Washing a bathroom is super gross when you have boys. So when I got sick of washing urine off the floor in the bathroom (boy mom nightmare!), that is when I taught my kids how to clean a bathroom. They both clean it really well and we take turns who has to clean which bathroom. The bathtub is a different beast and I have taught them to clean that as well.
How to cook
I started teaching my youngest how to cook when he was 4. He always wanted to be with me when I was in the kitchen so I just started handing him the gadgets and showed him how to use them.
I taught him how to peel cucumbers and potatoes. He knows how to cook scrambled eggs and how to make a cake. He can crack open an egg and is usually really careful not to get any eggshells in the bowl.
The older child is just learning how to cook. My goal is for them to be able to leave for college knowing how to cook 5 different meals without burning them.
Use a knife
I have a huge phobia of knives due to an accident I had as a child using a knife. It left me with 15 stitches in my hand. So I have been teaching my kids slowly how to use a knife. But before they leave for college they will know how to use a knife.
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Last week in the wash a button to a pair of pants came off. My son looked at me and said I guess we have to donate those and I said no, I guess we need to sew the button back on. He was shocked I even knew how to do that. Since then it has been my mission to teach them how to sew a button on.
Using a hammer, or screwdriver is something you don’t use every day, but kids need to learn how to use them so they can fix things when they are older. We started with the screwdriver and taught them the names of the screwdrivers. We just started to teach them how to use a hammer. Their wrists are still a little weak so it’s a little more difficult for them.
Last week my new license plates arrived and I handed them to the boys and they went and put them on. It is so nice to watch them be so proud of their tasks.
Take their temperature
I had to teach my child how to take his temperature over FaceTime. He wasn’t feeling well and our in-ear thermometer broke. He had to take it with a thermometer you use in your mouth then he had to learn how to read it. It took a few minutes, 3 to be exact, but he got it!
Treat a wound
My kids are at the age where they come in ALL THE TIME with a scraped up knee or elbow. So they have learned on the fly to put antibacterial ointment and band-aids on their knees and arms. Of course, we encourage them to clean the cuts first.
A few years ago my husband took Dave Ramsey’s course. It was the best course to help us with budgeting. We are very happy with the results of that course. Though we don’t use the envelope system, we do use some of the ideas. Because of his course, we were able to walk away with the skills to pass on to our children about budgeting. We started with teaching them to tithe and save money. Then we will teach them how to live on less. It’s a long process but thankfully we have a few years to teach them.
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How to shake your hand
Introducing yourself and shaking someone’s hand is a life skill they will use until they are dead. We are teaching them how to say “Hi, I’m Stephanie,” and stick out your hand to shake. We taught them not to squeeze too hard, not to hold the hand with 2 hands and just to be firm.
In addition to shaking your hand, we feel the art of conversation needs to be taught too. Especially since so many kids are losing that art because of their smartphones. At least in our home, we are teaching them to ask the questions and create a conversation so that other people can talk. We do use some question games to help and the kids love them!
Teach life skills to kids
This list is just a starting point. I’m sure as my kids get older there will be more added to the list. The budgeting is by far the hardest life skill we have had to teach. Some of these come really easy and some are not.
What we do know is that when our kids go out into the world they will have life skills and I better not see them say #adulting in their posts. Hopefully, they will see that our efforts to teach life skills to kids.
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Stephanie has been blogging at Sticky Note Mom for 4 years. Before starting her blog she worked in the finance industry working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade to working for major financial institutions with personal financial planning and the mortgage industry. Now she shares all she has learned about frugal living to help others learn how to stop spending and start saving more.