I try to do my best each day to find an opportunity to teach my kids something relatively useful to keep them alive both physically and socially. For example, it is rude to wipe your nose on someone else’s shirt. Also? You need to bathe and eat vegetables in order to stay healthy.
But there are other skills, important ones, that I feel strongly that my kids should know inside and out so that when they fly the coop they will land on their own two feet; ideally, somewhere that is not my house. Call me crazy, call me mean, but my children will not be moving back in with me once they are adults. I don’t care how hard adulting is.
So, in the spirit of my middle school home economics teacher, I offer up ten vital skills that all kids should know in order to be on their way toward being well-rounded, responsible citizens not living with their parents.
Manage their own money
I cannot emphasize this ENOUGH. Kids should know how to earn, save, and budget their own money. Start kids early with teaching them some simple chores that they can earn an allowance with. Once they have some money in their hands, show them how to take some of that money and save it. Give them one your old checkbook registers and show them how to balance a checkbook.
Every chance you get to talk about fiscal responsibility is absolutely important.Check out these great resources for teaching kids about basic personal finance:
Do their own laundry
For real, kids, this is not rocket science. Laundry is a simple chore that is mostly done by a machine and with a few simple habits can be a fairly painless habit.
Here is a quick cheat chart on how to sort laundry:
Whites, lights, and tans are set on PERMANENT PRESS in HOT water.
Colors are set on NORMAL in COLD water.
Towels (kitchen hand and bathroom) are set on NORMAL in HOT water.
Bedding (blankets, sheets, pillows, pillow cases) are set on NORMAL in WARM water.
Don’t forget to check pockets before you toss them into the wash. Also, make sure you buy the right kind of detergent. If your machines is energy efficient then make sure your detergent has the words “energy efficient” on the label.
Basic car maintenance
Basic car maintenance does not need to be complex or super difficult. Here are some links to a few tricks that will help your kid be car smart and save money.
Every car should have a roadside emergency kit, especially in the winter time. Here are some items you should consider keeping on hand.
- A map, yes, even if you have GPS
- A compass
- A warm blanket
- A Flashlight with working batteries
- Jumper cables
- Cat litter – in the winter this will add weight to the truck and also help you add grit to gain traction if you get stuck on ice or in snow.
- A list of emergency phone numbers, including a tow truck, the police, a hospital, and family contacts in your cell phone
- A windshield scraper
- A small shovel
Cleaning – the way mom does it
Here is a sample chart for daily chores that will keep your place clean.
If taxes are hard for you like they are for me, then hire someone to do them. I’m telling you, it is SO WORTH the money and time saved. Ask around for good accountant, most of them offer a flat rate for basic taxes. You can also go to Turbo Tax and file them yourself.
Emily Post would roll over in her grave if she heard some of the things kids say and do these days. Etiquette is a system of rules that keep society comfortable for everyone. And while folks don’t use calling cards anymore, there are still come classic signs of decent manners that would make every parent proud to see in their kids.
Here are few winning habits:
- Always be punctual
- Always RSVP within 48 hours of receiving an invitation
- Never forget to say please and thank you
- Keep personal hygiene in your own private space (clipping nails, flossing, applying makeup, etc.)
- Learn how to give a proper introduction (Mr. Left, this is Mr. Right, he is a business man and is a respected authority on the tax code. Mr. Right, this is Mr. Left, he is an artist and is an expert at grpahic design.)
- Learn when you should turn your cell phone off such as during an appointment, at the theater, in the checkout at the grocery store, or when someone is speaking to you for starters.
- Being generally considerate of others during day-to-day tasks.
How to cook a healthy meal
Kids don’t need advanced cooking skills that will earn them a spot on Master Chef, but they do need to know how to do basic things like work an oven, boil water, use a knife correctly, and how to measure dry and wet ingredients.
Check out this fantastic guide for cooking skills by age to teach kids as they grow how to cook and appreciate food.
How to book a flight, train, hotel, or rental car
And while we’re at it, you might want to teach your kids how to apply for a passport. Taking responsibility for booking travel and accommodations helps foster a sense of control when making plans to travel anywhere from the next town over to around the globe.
Here are some tricks and tips to look at:
How to do CPR and First Aid
CPR or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation saves lives. Period. It is simple to do, and worth learning. You can sign up for CPR classes at your local hospital. Check out this video that cover how to apply CPR to an adult:
Basic First Aid can help you when you least expect it and is a skill that everyone should learn. Click here to see an extensive list by the Mayo Clinic on how to treat specific ailments and injuries with First Aid.
How to deal with disappointment
This last point may not seem like an obvious one, but seriously, consider this for a minute. Teaching kids the invaluable skill of dealing with disappointment in a mature manner will help them out of SO MANY professional and social setbacks. Not only that, but studies show that kids who are emotionally mature and well-adjusted are far more likely to succeed in life on almost every measurable scale.
There are a ton of books out there that will walk you through how to teach your kids emotional intelligence. The basic tenets of emotional intelligence start with teaching empathy, strong and positive social skills such as manners, listening, being considerate and selfless. Other signs of emotional intelligence include self-reliance, problem-solving skills, and self-control over verbal and physical responses to their environment.
Raising great kids is the goal for most parents and with some coaching in the right direction, you can teach your kids to be self-reliant people who can adult like a boss.
With any luck, they won’t be asking to move back in with you.