I believe everyone’s end goal is the same when raising children: we all want to launch stable, happy, healthy, and independent children so that they can become self-contributing members of society. However, moving kids towards this end has many complex and unforeseen challenges.
Children Can Take on More Responsibility then we Realize
As parents, there are many ways in which we can help kids master life skills. Often, kids can take on more responsibility than we realize. Starting with small things when they are small, and gradually moving to bigger things as they get bigger is a good way to begin. Help them figure out solutions to problems by teaching them through real-life situations. Road trips are an excellent way to start. When on a road trip, explain the distance that is travelled at 100 kilometres (km) or 100 miles within a certain time period (like an hour). See if they are able figure out how long a road trip will take if driving at 80 km or 80 miles per hour.
Another great learning opportunity is a visit to the bank. Have the kids use the bank machine and follow the prompts on their own. Encourage them to complete their own transactions for the things they buy and have them count the change they need or should get back if using cash. What about showing them the ropes when filling up gas at the gas station? When you feel they are old enough, safely teach them how to fill up the tank and insert the credit card for payment.
How has back-to-school been for your family? If you’re experiencing feelings of stress or anxiety, read our blog post on how you can deal with it here.
Expand Their Classroom
As they become more confident, expand their “classroom”. When travelling away from home, have the kids navigate the airport and find the gate on their own while you follow a short distance behind. Kids taking the lead while riding the bus or the train is another great way for them to master life skills.
Have your kids fill out their own school or extra-curricular forms and lead the discussion at the doctor’s office. Have kids assist or learn how to plan and book a trip from start to finish.
Recently we learned that “making lunch” for our 14-year-old took the form of a bowl of cereal. Apparently, we had missed teaching him the important life skill of making a sandwich! Cleaning up after himself, appeared to be another lesson we had missed as well. Suffice to say, he now knows how to make a variety of sandwiches as well as safely light and man the BBQ. Up next is the fine art of making one’s bed and cleaning a toilet!
We are raising our kids to be a benefit to society, not a drain on it. At S+S we are always interested in hearing your thoughts on best practices for raising children. Please share what life skills your children are mastering!
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