"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." - Deut. 4:9
Many parents have recently been thrust into the role of teacher since classrooms across America closed last month. Understandably, they have been trying to slide into the teacher slot, focusing on Math, English, and Social Studies. Between assisting their children with school assignments, some parents have also thrown in some creative endeavors like art and music projects. That is great! Kids need those creative outlets just as much as they need to apply themselves to more academic disciplines. Parents also have a new resolve to teach Scriptural truths to their children, like the verse at the top of this post. That's so very important. Living it out is what will help it take root! Now, moreover, some moms and dads are becoming aware of the prospect of having a chance to teach their kids a few important life skills. You ask yourself, “Why not? My child is obviously enthralled with my newly discovered teaching abilities. I’m sure Johnny would enthusiastically receive my instruction on some other non-academic subjects!”
What are life skills and why would you want to make the effort to teach them right now? Won’t your child just learn a lot of these things by osmosis? Life skills can be anything from making a bed properly, to taking care of a pet, to balancing a checkbook or conducting an oil-change on the family car. As far as learning these things by osmosis? Uh, no. Many life skills are learned without being formally taught, but most will come from repeated observation or even through step-by-step instruction. Even when we teach ourselves something new, we begin with what we have observed. We try, we self-correct, we experiment, we try again, we might search for help in a book or online. I know that there are thousands of skills that I have learned as an adult through this method. Yet, wouldn’t it have been nice to arrive at young adulthood already having the knowledge that is needed for daily life? How blessed is a twenty-something who can look back and recollect a special memory of dad showing her how to change a tire or of a grandma who taught her how to make a home-made pie crust. I still remember a very special someone taking the time to teach me how to crochet and someone else teaching me how to sew! Yes, as an adult, I still had much to learn and needed to hone many skills to a higher quality. Entering adulthood with a long list of life skills was beneficial for me. There are many common tasks that I still do not know how to do. If I had at least given attention to watching others do those tasks, maybe I would have more self-confidence to attempt them, rather than being stuck thinking, “I can’t. I’ll have to let someone else do it”.
How many college students do we know that are very intelligent and head-smart, but do not know how to cook a home-made meal? They don’t know where to begin when shopping for better insurance coverage or how to start a lawnmower. How many 10-year-olds still haven’t learned how to organize their own belongings because they never have been asked to take the time to do so? They typically have come home from school and have found their bed made, their laundry put away, and their toys stacked nicely on the shelf. Maybe our focus as parents and schools has been unbalanced. Are we doing too much for our children? Have we sacrificed teaching practical life skills because we have spent so much time having our children work on solving algebraic equations and memorizing the periodic table of elements? Is their time spent on electronic devices rather than on learning skills that will serve them well when they have their own households?
Below is a list of possible life skills to teach your children. There really would be hundreds of possibilities (or thousands?), but this list is only a start. Obviously younger children are only ready for some. Teenagers may need to play catch-up. No one will learn all of them before they reach adulthood. As a parent, pick the ones that you deem as most important. Begin implementing learning them into the daily or weekly routine. Before you know it, your kiddo will be feeling better about himself, contributing more to home management, and maybe even cooking his parents a four-course meal (after he catches up the laundry and knits some new potholders)!
Change bed sheets & make bed neatly, Clean bathroom, Vacuum house, Cook and bake many different recipes, Meal planning for family, Family budgeting (including the cost of living, saving, etc.), Basic car maintenance, Yard maintenance, Time management, Goal setting, First-aid, Manners & Etiquette, Phone etiquette, Laundry & Caring for clothing, Organization (school work, toys, clothes, personal belongings, schedule), Putting gas in the car, Survival skills.
Here is a link that will give you many more ideas of skills for your children to learn: