It’s our job as parents (whether we like it or not) to prepare our children for the real world. We are the ones who teach them the skills that they need to survive once they leave the nest. (I don’t want my babies to ever leave me!) The sooner our children learn about the ways of the world, the better.
To help you get started on prepping your kids, here are 12 life skills you want to make sure they learn.
I admit, I’m not the best person to teach my children how to cook. If my children learned their cooking skills from me, they’d leave the house having mastered the art of making mac ‘n cheese and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. However, there are other ways for them to learn. Daddy can teach them, they can take a cooking class, or we can sign up for a kid’s cooking subscription box and learn together! No matter what level chef you are, make sure your kids learn at least some cooking skills while they’re young.
2. Wilderness Survival
I’ve never been a big fan of camping. I’m just not very outdoorsy, and I enjoy having the comforts of home nearby. However, I do think it’s important for kids to learn survival skills, and camping is a great way for them to learn. Organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts provide opportunities for children to explore the wilderness. Summer camps also give kids a chance to work on their survival skills. If none of those are options, a family camping trip over the weekend is a good place to start.
My children started taking infant survival swimming classes before they were even one year old. Now, they are more advanced swimmers than most other kids their age. The Centers For Disease Control estimates that 1 in 5 drowning deaths are that of children under the age of 14.
It’s so important that children learn basic swimming skills as young as possible, so they not only overcome their fears of being in water, but are taught how to survive in the event of an emergency.
source: Hire Rush
Encourage healthy eating habits and a love of the outdoors by teaching your child how to garden. Even if you don’t have a green thumb (like me), there are plenty of resources that provide information on how to garden. There are also kids subscription boxes that provide monthly gardening tools and ideas.
Head over to Hire Rush, where you’ll find great tips on starting a vegetable garden with your kids.
5. Household Repairs
Raise your own mini handyman (or handywoman) by showing your kids how to do minor repairs around the house. Simple things like changing a light bulb, using a toilet plunger, or gluing together a broken picture frame are easy ways for them to get an idea of how to fix stuff. Older kids can be offered more challenging tasks, while younger siblings can watch and learn.
source: Safe Bee
6. Money Management
I’m planning on getting my 3 1/2 year old a piggy bank soon, and I can’t wait for him to start learning about saving money! Your kids can also learn how to manage money by receiving an allowance, working small jobs in the neighborhood, and helping you calculate a budget before heading to the store. Regardless of which method you choose, your children are going to need to learn about money before they start earning a real salary.
Check out Safe Bee for more ways to teach your children about managing finances.
7. Self Defense
It makes me sad that we even need to teach our children self defense, but the reality is that we live in a harsh world. From bullies at school to bad guys at the park, our kids need to learn how to defend themselves. Once they are old enough, it’s a good idea to sign them up for a self defense class (especially our daughters). In the meantime, get them involved in karate or martial arts, so they can begin to develop skills that will help them if they’re ever in danger.
source: The Home Life
When your kids are really little, they can start by helping you divide up the socks. As they get older, they can help you fold, and eventually they’ll learn how to run the washer and dryer on their own. Too many grown men still rely on their wives and/or mothers to do their laundry, and it’s our job to see that we raise self-sufficient men who know how to do it themselves!
If you want some ideas on making your clothes last longer, take a look at The Home Life.
source: On The Road Again
9. Car Maintenance
I never learned how to change a tire or the oil in my car. But it would have been really helpful to know. Many little boys watch their dads work on the car, and oftentimes, they ask to help. It’s just as important that we teach our daughters these same skills. If your kids go away to college someday, you might not be around to help them when they get a flat. You’ll feel better knowing that they can get it taken care of on their own.
Take a look at some of the tips from On The Road Again, provided by real dads who love cars.
source: Better Parenting
10. Time Management
Some mornings, I can’t believe how long it takes the kids and me to get out the door. Don’t they have any concept of time?? Well, actually, no. Not yet. But as soon as they are old enough to comprehend time, I’ll make sure to teach them ways to use it more wisely. (Like put your dang shoes on the first time I ask you!) Oh, and how to tell time.
Stop by Better Parenting to learn some tips on teaching your children time management skills.
11. First Aid
Many kids have doctor kits that they love to play with. When I take my son to the doctor, I point out the tools that his doctor uses and remind him that he has the same ones at home. When he gets a “boo boo,” he often requests a band-aid. Children are aware of the fact that sickness and injuries can get better, but many don’t learn how to treat themselves. As soon as your kids are old enough to start trying remedies on their own, go through a first aid kit with them and educate them on the many different items. Older kids would also benefit from taking a CPR class.
If you have more than one child, you’ve probably witnessed your older one(s) caring for the younger one(s). My boy loves helping take care of his little sister. Even if you only have one child, you can teach her the basics of childcare. Dolls, cousins, friends, anytime you can surround your child with younger children (real or fake), she will learn how to take care of them. Younger kids can help with putting on diapers, feeding baby or wrapping them in a blanket. Older kids can dress, clean and put kids to bed.