As parents, our goal is to raise our children to be successful adults. We want them to be happy, healthy, and to succeed at anything they choose to do. With the over abundance of social media, we have all seen our fair share of “adulting” errors. Though that term irks me, my teenager said it best “Man! Adulting is Hard! I’m not ready for all that!” She doesn’t realize how right she is about not being ready!
That conversation got me thinking though. What life skills do I want my children to know before they move out into the adult world. After much thought, I have come up with a list a life skills I want them to know. This isn’t everything I want them to know, but a key list of actual “life skills” they aren’t always taught at school. I am sure they can just “google” all of this, but knowing it is better than having to reach for a phone to give an answer!
12 Life Skills I Want My Children To Learn
1. Basic Culinary Skills:
We are in the midst of generations that have grown up on prepackaged, processed foods. I want all my children to learn how to not only heat food up, but actually prepare well-balanced meals. Knowing how to cook with raw materials keeps you better in line with a proper, healthy diet. This goes for boys and girls. My daughter’s all take turns working in the kitchen with me. Two of them love to cook, one just want’s to master a grilled cheese. Either way, they are learning the importance of a healthy diet and time spent with family in the kitchen. My son isn’t old enough to cook, but I include him in as much as I can.
2. Know how to do Laundry:
This is such a major life skill that cannot be missed! Knowing how to clean clothes is an essential. Imagine going off to college, filling up your laundry basket, and genuinely wondering why it’s still sitting there. I want my children to truly know how to go out of the house in clean, wrinkly free clothing.
3. Know how to clean a bathroom:
If you can clean a bathroom properly, you can clean anything! Seriously! My mom always was the one to clean the bathroom and I never thought anything of it as a child. When I turned sixteen, I went and got my first job as carhop. One of my side work duties was cleaning the women‘s bathroom. I was clueless and had to have my manager tell me everything. Just as clueless as I was then, so have been many employees I trained how to clean a bathroom since! Learning how to clean multiple types of surfaces, sanitize, restock, and minor maintenance required to clean a bathroom will prepare them to clean anything!
4. Speak for themselves:
Children need to learn to advocate for themselves. It’s basic problem solving. Being able to speak for yourself in a professional, and respectful way prepares children for the work force. If your paycheck is incorrect, you’re not going to have your mom call to fix it for you. This also goes for knowing when a situation is too big to handle alone. Being able to judge a situation, and ask for help when necessary is equally important.
5. How to take public transportation:
Not every town has a bus, but most have a taxi. I can fully admit, I to this day would be a nervous wreck attempting to ride a public bus. This is something I have never done. However, I learned by time I was seventeen how to call a cab, ride the train, and know how to get to and from places by walking. Knowing how to get around your community is extremely important.
Please, Thank you, Your Welcome, not letting a door slam in someones face. These are basics that are drilled in your head in the south, but not so much in other parts of the United States. If I am speaking to an older adult (especially someone who is my parents age or older), I still say “yes ma’am, no ma’am.” In this technology based, texting world, manners seem to have gone out the window. I want my children to continue through life with manners, knowing how to be respectful people.
7. Manage Money:
Everyone needs to know how to count money and make change. Going even further, you need to know how to balance a check book. Money is a huge part of everyday life. I have had to trained so many teens over the years how to make change, without a cash register telling them. Even more so, knowing how to budget their money and pay bills is a must! Schools are getting back into requiring a finance class, but it goes so much further to be shown in real life how this works!
8. How To Grow Their Own Food:
Some of my favorite childhood memories were in the garden. Some of my favorite moments with my own children are also in the garden. Being able to know not only where your food comes from, but watching it grow from seed to the table is amazing. Produce takes time, work, and patience to grow. These are lessons that fold over into all aspects of life. That, and there is nothing better than fresh fruit off the vine!
9. Basic Hygiene:
We are constantly working with our children to clean their hair, use deodorant, and look presentable. It is great if they grow up to be so confident they can go out looking and smelling like a hot mess and not care what others think. However, you can’t hide body odor with axe spray or bath and body works. Coming from a mom of three girls, girls can stink worse than boys! Not only does having proper hygiene make you more enjoyable to be around, it is also healthy. Having clean teeth equals healthy teeth and better health. Washing your hands after going to the bathroom helps to stop spread disease. It’s just that important.
10. Basic Car Maintenance:
First, knowing how to get gas in the car. A call went out over our local scanner placed in to 911, because they couldn’t figure out how to open the gas tank while at the gas station. That pretty much sums that one up. Further though, actual maintenance. Everyone needs to know how to change a flat tire, how to check your oil, replacing wipers and lights, changing the battery, and jump starting a car. Our children knowing these thing will keep them safer out on the road.
11. Basic First Aid:
Basic first aid can save lives. Knowing CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, bandaging open wounds, and what to do and not to do are a must. Most community centers offer course in the for free or cheap for children and adults alike.
12. Saving Money:
Knowing what to save money on and what to splurge on, is very important. Learning how to be frugal and couponing doesn’t make you cheap. It helps you to be able to afford the things you need. My children have learned how to save money when shopping, but our next goal is on actually learning what to do with that saved money.