Imagine what your kids will be like in 20 years. What are your hopes and dreams for them? What skills will your kids need to emotionally and intellectually be successful in life? Will they be self-reliant? There are skills you can teach them today to help them be self sufficient in their future lives. Most of these skills don’t come naturally, and must be taught. If you are a mom that does everything for your kids…STOP IT!!! Teaching them these skills does take some time, but it is necessary for their future success.
COOKING/Food prep. They don’t need to be gourmet chefs. Basic skills like browning meat, cutting veggies, or using an oven can go a long way. Start simple…stirring, cracking an egg, pouring an ingredient into the measuring cup, or flipping the pancakes. Then you can move on to following a recipe or following the instructions on the back of a mix. I like to make “dinner” part of their Summer chores. When it is their week to make dinner, they get to help pick the meals, shop for the ingredients, and do most of the prep work. I try to let them make every meal throughout the week. I just coach them and help where needed. My kids started making their own breakfasts and lunches when they were in first grade. I have bins of things they can take, but they decide what they want to pack and are responsible to do it.
CLEANING/ORGANIZING-This is definitely not a natural skill for most kids. Teach skills like cleaning up something after you play with it, making your bed every day, and cleaning your room. You can teach them how to clean the bathroom, do the dishes, dust, sweep and vacuum. Don’t ever assume they know how to do it properly. The first week of the Summer, I like to go over each cleaning assignment and how to do a great job. Organizing also takes some time. I love Marie Kondo and have taught some of her skills to my oldest child. Now her room is always clean!
TEACH THEM HOW TO WORK HARD and DO THEIR BEST WORK-My dad worked 4 tens each week, which meant that he had a free day to do work. I hated it when we were out of school because we would spend most of the day working! It taught me so much though about hard work. I learned to work with others, and to get the job done in a super efficient way! Teach them how to mow the lawn, how to weed, how to trim the yard. Teach them the satisfaction of doing an excellent job. My kids now know that if they do a crappy job, I’ll make them redo it!
FINANCIAL SKILLS-Don’t let them be fooled by society’s influence of “get whatever you want now and pay for it sometime later”. There is a lot of benefit to being patient in making purchases and saving for a rainy day. Because rain always comes! We like to use the Dave Ramsey money methods. We bought a simple 3-ring zipper pouch and wrote on it with permanent marker: savings, giving (like tithing), and spending. Also, we like to pay our kids a little each week for doing their chores. They have to have some money to really learn financial skills. This system has worked so well for my kids and I’ve saved money too since they don’t want to spend their own money on random things that I used to just buy for them. Check out my post on teaching your kids about budgeting.
Social Skills-Kids will be faced with dealing with lots of different people…people who may not be nice or don’t think the same way they do. Teach your kids kindness, manners, etiquette, respect, communication skills (especially with teachers they don’t like), making eye contact, and how to introduce themselves to others.
Educational Skills. Being a good student can be taught at a very young age. Teach them how to study, how to take tests, make homework a priority. Teach them to educate their minds and develop talents too. Here’s my post on education.
Service/Charity-One of the best ways to teach your kids to be selfless is to teach them to serve and love others. Service is so great to do together as a family and has helped us grow closer. We have served in numerous ways together. Seeing the struggles of others helps you appreciate the blessings in your life even more. Here’s my post on teaching your kids to serve.
Physical care. Teach your kids to take care of themselves, to get enough sleep, to take a shower, wash their hands, to wear deodorant, to brush their hair, to change out of their jammies before they go to Walmart, dress modestly, and to brush and floss their teeth. My kids know if they are messy, dirty or stinky that I will let them know immediately in a not so subtle way! We go to the doctor and dentist regularly so they have positive experiences there. When my kids started school, we gave them an alarm clock to wake themselves up. This has made my life so much easier.
GRATITUDE. This is an important skill to teach to help your kids remember and appreciate their lives. You can make a gratitude chart of things for which you are thankful. During family prayer, think of a different blessing each night. Show appreciation for things others do. Keep a journal. Focus on the positive and look for good things that happen each day. Kids will follow your example…if you are negative, they will be too. So be positive and appreciate the good in your life. Here’s my post on being a gracious receiver.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS-Teach your kids what to do if there is a fire, earthquake, they get lost, first aid skills, how to call 9-1-1 (we had to teach them to push talk after), where to meet outside if there is a fire, stranger danger, good touch/bad touch, how to safely cross the street, etc. Have a fire drill or act out an emergency.
Spiritual SURVIVAL SKILLS. You cannot always be there with your kids. Help them gain a testimony of the gospel, to recognize the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to love the scriptures, to pray, and to follow the Savior by keeping the commandments. Then when they are placed in trying situations, you can trust that they will have the spiritual skills necessary to survive.
Teach your children these life skills so they can survive without you. There are so many more important skills you can teach them. There is no limit to what you can teach your child. Most of these skills don’t come natural to kids so pick a new skill each week. Chores are an excellent way to get your kids working and learning. We like to talk about social skills during our weekly family lessons. Find a time that works for your family and start today! You can make the difference in your child’s future success.
Things that inspired me: