Kids Need Life Skills Now More Than Ever: Self Awareness Skills

Kids Need Life Skills Now More Than Ever: Self Awareness Skills

It was recently brought to my attention just how rare it is to find college age kids and young adults with what I consider to be basic life skills. You know, like being able to balance a checkbook, cook a meal, do laundry, or communicate effectively.

So, over the past few weeks, we’ve been exploring the life skills our kids are desperately in need of now, more than ever. We began by talking about personal finance skills, moved into cooking and cleaning, and last week, we touched on relationship skills

This week, we’re exploring Self Awareness Skills. You might be thinking – what even are self awareness skills? At first glance, you might think that they are things that shouldn’t have to or need to be taught, but I assure you – they do need teaching!

We’re talking simple skills like knowing how to prioritize tasks, keeping focused, and basic etiquette – plus much more. Without these very necessary skills, our kids will lack the self awareness they need to succeed and prosper in our ever changing society. 

PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS

It is so necessary for our kids to avoid developing a helpless mentality. There’s nothing worse than watching your child whine that they can’t do something – especially when you know, if they just tried, they actually can do it! Kids who whine that they can’t become adults who never developed problem solving skills.

It is up to us as parents to help our kids develop and understand their inner resourcefulness. Kids, and adults for that matter, don’t need to know everything, but, it helps if they have a skill set that allows them to figure things out. And, if they can’t figure something out, we can guide them in discerning how and who to go to for help.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR CALLING, PURPOSE & MISSION

Understanding your higher purpose, your “calling” and what drives you helps set a foundation for everything you do. 

Crafting not only a family mission statement but discussing what a ‘calling’ or ‘gift’ is with each child, will help them to start thinking about who they are and what their purpose, talent and gifts are at an early age.

HOW TO PRIORITIZE AND WHAT YOUR PRIORITIES ARE

We all have to learn how to prioritize the most important things each day, so we can take care of the most necessary (and often the toughest) tasks first. In the ER, doctors and nurses call it triage. It’s being able to assess a situation, size it up and figure out what needs to be tackled first. 

Show your kids how to assess the situation and then do the big, bad, tough things first. Get them under control so you can move forward.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR VALUES

Similar to understanding your mission, understanding your values (and refusing to compromise on them) will give you guidance through any decision. If honesty is one of your values, then next time you’re put in a compromising position you’ll never be tempted to lie—because you know honesty is so important to you. If family communication and connectedness is a top value, then you’ll use that to guide your decisions that affect your kids. 

Teach your children to write out their values and refer to them whenever they’re facing a tough choice. You should do this, as well. Your kids will learn this practice from your example.

HOW TO FOCUS

Kids need Self Awareness skills like focus

This is twofold: first, how to focus on a task when you’re facing a deadline or when you need to get something done; and second, how to focus your direction, your actions and your goals so you’re always in line with your values and holding true to your personal mission.

HOW TO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR

Parents of tweens are aware of the time in their development when kids start to “get it.” Suddenly they can detect subtle tones in conversation, they learn to be sarcastic and yes, sometimes even funny. 

Some adults still struggle with this, but finding the humor in any situation (and even the joy in the toughest ones) will get you far. Humor can help us deal with pain, stress and problems in life, and can help us find the silver lining. That is why this is so important for kids to learn, to help them through difficult situations as well.

BASIC ETIQUETTE

Kids need Self Awareness skills like etiquette

Gone are the days of Emily Post and worrying about being judged for failing to use the proper fork at the dinner table (unless your family is VERY formal). Understanding basic etiquette, however, is still relevant and vital in today’s society. Politeness is about consideration for the feelings of others and making sure you don’t do something that offends or frankly, grosses people out (like chewing with your open – just gross). 

Instilling self awareness skills in our kids may take some more time and energy while our kids are young. Ultimately, focusing on these skills now will bring your entire family the happiness and contentment you want for the future. For more information on how we model self awareness skills and other life skills in our home, check this out

If you’ve enjoyed this series and you’re looking for more support in any of the areas covered, let me know. Send me an email with your questions and let me know what life skills you are focusing on with your kids! Don’t forget to grab our awesome FREE resources for teaching personal finance and cooking, cleaning, and laundry!  

Kids Need Life Skills Now More Than Ever: Relationship Skills

Kids Need Life Skills Now More Than Ever: Relationship Skills

For the past few weeks, we’ve been chatting about the top life skills our kids need now more than ever. Our first two installments covered practical, tangible skills – money management, and cooking/cleaning

The next two weeks, we’ll be moving into areas that are a little bit more difficult to measure, but still oh-so-important. Sometimes, if we don’t see dishes left on the table, dirty bathrooms, or low bank statements – it can be easy to ignore a problematic behavior. That doesn’t mean a problem doesn’t exist. 

Pinterest image for teaching relationship skillsThis week, we’ll discuss the important role positive relationship skills play in our kid’s lives as they move into adulthood. 

We are all social beings and as such, we interact with others regularly. It may be tempting to crawl under blankets and binge watch Hulu all day, but that’s not always an option. Instead, we need to nurture our relationships with our partners, children,  friends, other parents, and coworkers. Sometimes, these interactions are easy, but sometimes they are complicated and difficult. 

We can set our children up for future relationship success by beginning the process of cultivating positive relationship skills, now. Without positive relationship skills, our children will grow into adults who aren’t able to communicate clearly, open up, or handle tough situations. 

LISTENING & COMMUNICATION IN A PARTNERSHIP

Communication in a marriage or relationship is very different than general communication skills. It’s about listening, being selfless and empathetic and tackling the difficult conversations without prejudice. Words matter. They can be hurtful or beautiful. They can bring us closer to each other or they can rip us apart. 

Teaching our children to think before they speak and listen more than they talk are communication tools that will serve them throughout their lives and in all of their close relationships.

image of a couple communicating

VALUING & EXPRESSING RESPECT

At the heart of every successful marriage, there’s mutual respect. 

Let’s face it, nobody’s marriage is perfect, but respecting our spouse and our differences can help your marriage become stronger and happier. Kids learn from what we do, not what we say. Learning to view our partners through the lens of another human being with feelings, desires and wants that may not always match your own, is an important skill for us to develop. 

If your children are witnessing a strong and healthy marriage on a daily basis, that is the type of relationship they will model when the time comes.

VALUING & EXPRESSING LOVE

Love is about buying gifts and spoiling your children and spouse, right? 

WRONG. 

Love is about quality time, affection, expression and understanding. We all know what Hollywood and Hallmark say love is, but we also know love is about so much more. To love and to be loved is truly a life skill and something that takes work. 

We need to teach our kids that love isn’t always about the chocolate, perfect IG selfies and romantic getaways. It’s about all of the ‘hard stuff’ that makes a marriage last.

HOW TO ACCEPT COMPLIMENTS & CRITICISM

Accepting both compliments and constructive criticism isn’t easy! Oftentimes we fail to accept compliments with grace or downplay them and get embarrassed. 

Yet, we’re often crushed by criticisms (even if they’re valid) taking them personally and to heart. 

Learning to simply say, “thank you” when you get a compliment and learning to view criticism as feedback (assess it, then apply it or throw it away) can serve our kids well.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

adults communicating

Today’s moms have likely heard all the buzz about social-emotional learning. If you’re in the business world, I’m sure you’ve read a lot about how social and emotional intelligence are important in the workplace. 

Why is this? Well, because people are finding that being emotionally intelligent can be just as important as understanding the nuances of engineering or physics. 

As the human population grows and we become more global in our interactions, being sensitive to others, understanding emotions and learning to harness them in a positive way can be a make-or-break life skill. Fortunately, we can start teaching our kids emotional intelligence now so they will have this skill throughout their life.

 

Instilling positive relationship skills in your kids may take some more time and energy while our kids are young. Ultimately, focusing on these skills now will bring your entire family the happiness and contentment you want for the future. For more information on how we model positive relationship skills and other life skills for your kids, check this out

Kids Need Life Skills Now More Than Ever: How to Cook and Clean

Kids Need Life Skills Now More Than Ever: How to Cook and Clean

Last week, I told you about my business peer who had sent her daughter off to college. Within a few weeks, she’d heard from her daughter who had thanked her for teaching her life skills like how to cook, clean, and do laundry. 

My kids aren’t that old yet, but I know if I receive that call one day, I’ll be beaming! As moms, isn’t that what we all hope for – well prepared kids who “get it”? We all want our kids to learn how to be well prepared adults and to really understand why we chose to teach them those particular things. 

This conversation sparked an idea for a series of blog posts on the top life skills kids are needing to learn now more than ever. We kicked off the series last week with personal finance management. This week, for part two, we’ll be chatting about cooking and cleaning. 

HOW TO COOK

two kids learn to cook together

Many people are astonished by the lack of cooking skills among today’s young generation. While this is the era of ready-made meals and fast food, you shouldn’t consider the ability to cook as just a survival skill. The enjoyment of knowing how to cook is priceless. When done properly, home-cooked food has a beneficial effect on your health and the health of your wallet.  

Even if it’s just macaroni and cheese, the ability to cook a meal and eat it is a necessary life skill—it’ll save them lots of money when their favorite takeout restaurant is closed for a holiday or it can be a feather in their cap when they are able to host a party and cook for a group of co-workers for the evening.

Starting the process of getting your kids comfortable in the kitchen can begin at an early age, too. It’s easy and fun to teach very small kids about baking. There are even creative ways to mix in simple math activities while measuring out ingredients. As they get older and have more attention and understanding of kitchen safety, you can move on to teaching them more difficult cooking techniques like sauteing, roasting, and grilling. 

Knowing how to cook their own meals will save our kids money, calories, time, and could even impress their future partner down the line.

HOW TO CLEAN

a mom cleans while her daughter watches

From making our beds to laundry basics, our kids all need to learn basic housekeeping skills. For our kids, keeping a tidy house is a life skill that ensures the health of their own future family, keeps them organized and able to find what they need, and ultimately saves them money so they can keep living the ‘good life’. 

It’s also proven that organization in the home help kids think more clearly in school. Organizing a home is more than just straightening up. It involves actual cleaning, organizing, and developing systems and routines to remain clean and organized. 

You can begin this process by getting kids involved in your household chore systems. We do a lot with our kids around involving them in chores. They learn life skills and earn money in the process. It’s a win-win! 

How to do Laundry

We’ve written quite a bit about training your kids to do their own laundry as well as easy laundry hacks, so I’m sure you can tell that this life skill was a big one for us. Getting my kids to do their own laundry has been a huge time saver for us! 

We recommend introducing laundry to your kids in phases and you can find the entire process, here. Of course, it can be much quicker (and less frustrating) to simply do it yourself. But, that phone call from your kids at college thanking you for teaching them to do this will be so, so worth it!

Why you should teach your kids to cook and clean pin

It’s clear that our kids need life skills now more than ever. As their parents, it is our job to teach them. Teaching kids how to cook and clean and handle their laundry can be some of the most basic but necessary skills. Additionally, you can start with these skills when they’re quite young and make them fun! Come back next week for part three where we’ll be chatting about relationship skills. 

In the meantime, you can grab our completely FREE Family Chore and Money System Action Guide, here. You can also hop over to Facebook and watch me walk through how to use it, here. If you’d like even more support, let’s chat about 1:1 coaching and I’ll help you set up a systems and routines that will work for your unique family.⁠⠀

Kids Need Life Skills Now More Than Ever: Personal Finance Management

Kids Need Life Skills Now More Than Ever: Personal Finance Management

I recently heard an interesting story from a business peer whose daughter started college in the fall. This mom was telling me that she received a call from her daughter thanking her for teaching her how to cook, clean and do her own laundry. She was pleasantly surprised that her daughter had thanked her for teaching these skills and she asked her daughter what had prompted the call. Her daughter relayed to her that she had been horrified when she discovered that her roommate didn’t know how to do any of those things.  

If your kids were to go away to college today, what kind of phone call do you think you’d receive?  

What life skills will your child know by college?

What skill sets do you want them to leave home with that will give you the peace of mind of knowing they can take care of themselves? With the right preparation, we can get our kids on the right track, so that they can each acquire these important life skills.

You may be thinking, what ‘life skills’ should I be teaching my kids? 

We’ve put together a four part series that will highlight different types of life skills all of our kids desperately need to learn before heading off into the world. Ultimately, as a parent, you get to choose which life skills are important to you and your family, but this series will give you a thorough overview of the areas I focus my time on with my kids.

First Up in our Life Skills Series – Let’s Chat Personal Finance Management.

Personal finance is one of the most essential life skills, that we don’t tend to teach the next generation. I guess we just assume they will just figure it out like we did. 

However, I think many of us (I’m raising my hand right now, too) took a bit longer to figure it out than necessary. I don’t know about you, but if I can help my kids now to avoid the mistakes I made later on down the line – I’m all for it. 

Because of that, I’ve already started on many of these lessons with my own kids.

HOW TO BUDGET

7 personal finance life skills Pinterest imageThe ability to budget and be financially responsible is absolutely vital to your life skillset. It’s a skill we can learn from a very young age and one we should build upon throughout our lives. Setting financial goals, taking care of your money and calculating expenses are an important part of budgeting.

HOW TO AVOID/GET OUT OF DEBT

Learning to live within your means is definitely a learned skill. Learning to slay your debt is about keeping your spending in check and managing a plan to pay off your debt quickly and efficiently. We refer to it as a war, slaying, tackling and fighting because it’s truly challenging. But, the amazing thing is, with a little practice, avoiding debt is a war that we can teach our kids to win.

HOW TO MAKE A MAJOR PURCHASE

Maybe your kids are about to buy their first car—or maybe just their first new jacket with their allowance money. Whatever it is, they should understand how to compare prices, how to do research via Consumer Reports, and how to make a smart, well informed, purchase.

BALANCING YOUR BANK ACCOUNT

How many of us just use our debit card without writing things down? How many of us pay bills online or have them set up to automatically be debited from our accounts and then sort of forget until they show up on our bank statement? 

Being able to record your expenses is a skill that keeps us in touch with your finances. It’s important that our children understand what it truly means to use their debit cards and actually physically subtract the money from their bank accounts. It keeps them immediately accountable for what they’re spending. Have them try committing to write things down for a month and see if you notice a difference in their spending patterns. 

HOW TO USE COUPONS

Learning how to use coupons can actually be fun for kids! My children love it and it’s really easy to get started. With a little organization and some practice, you’ll become a couponing queen (and you’ll rarely catch yourself or your kids paying full price for ANYTHING).

MONEY MANAGEMENT/INVESTING

Once they have saved a lot of money or have their debt paid off, understanding how to invest their money wisely is also a huge learning experience. Even people who have money to spare have trouble with investments and making that money grow. 

Really, there are very few ways to “get rich quick” aside from winning the lottery, and most investing and money management attempts have to be carefully vetted and researched. Show your kids how to research various areas of investment such as the stock market, real estate, or startups before they decide to let go of their hard-earned money.

EFFECTIVE NEGOTIATION

effective negotiation - life skills

Bargaining, bartering, negotiating—it’s a learned life skill many of us shy away from. Learning how to trade, make an offer, and be comfortable with asking for a better deal can save you money. It can also be a valuable skill when you’re faced with a tricky money situation (like asking for a raise) where negotiating is essential and expected. 

Teach your kids not to shy away from making a bargain. Challenge them to practice until they feel comfortable. That might mean saying, “Is that the best you can offer?” over their next big purchase or you could have them set up a swap with a friend to practice negotiating. This will help them learn to stop cringing whenever a negotiating opportunity presents itself.

Our kids need life skills now more than ever. Period. End of story. As their parents, it is our job to teach them. But, when we don’t know where to start – it can be overwhelming. My advice, start with personal finance management. Come back next week for part two where we’ll be chatting about cooking and cleaning. 

In the meantime, you can grab our completely FREE Family Chore and Money System Action Guide, here. You can also hop over to Facebook and watch me walk through how to use it, here. If you’d like even more support, let’s chat about 1:1 coaching and I’ll help you set up a systems and routines that will work for your unique family.⁠⠀

How to Streamline Your Family Morning Routine on School Days

How to Streamline Your Family Morning Routine on School Days

There was a time when I spent every morning constantly stressed out. I was desperately trying to get the kids out the door and to school on time so that I could get to work on time.⠀

It seemed like the more I nagged and reminded them to get ready and get their butts downstairs to eat so we could leave for school, the more they dilly-dallied in their rooms. Then when they did get downstairs, we butted heads trying to figure out what they wanted to eat for breakfast and lunch. So, of course we always ended up rushing out the door with food in their hands.⠀

One day I was just simply fed up. I told my husband, “That’s it! I’m tired of this. We need to figure out a way to stop this madness every morning.” And that’s when I sat down and thought about what exactly I could do or change to make our morning routines less hectic. So I created a family morning routine/system and “laid down the law”. We’ve made a lot of tweaks along the way but we’ve kept with it and seen great improvements!

These are the main changes we made to streamline our family morning routine and teach our kids more responsibility:

Make decisions the night before

We discuss breakfast and lunch the night before each school day so we don’t waste any time in the morning. If possible, we even pack lunches and prep breakfast the night before. This eliminates any wasted time in the morning from indecision. If they have decided they want something different by the time morning comes, they are sure about it before speaking up. 

We used to waste so much time going back and forth in the morning deciding what each kid felt like eating for breakfast and what we should pack for lunch. Those days are gone now because it is all set in stone before they go to bed the night before. This simple routine modification has saved us so much time and stress in the morning!

Put your kids in charge of their own wake up

child with alarm clock to streamline the family morning routine

Another minor change we made with major impact was putting our kids in charge of their own wake up. We set an expectation time that everyone is to be downstairs. In our house, that’s 7 AM. 

Our kids now set their alarms for the time they select that will allow them to be downstairs on time. I like giving them the ability to choose what time they set their alarm for. This gives them both a sense of responsibility and control over their situation. 

If your kids are on the older side and have a cell phone, they can use the alarm on their device. We choose not to allow devices in our kids’ rooms, so they set old fashioned alarm clocks for themselves! If your kids are younger, you can always use a clock radio or even wind-up alarm clock and you can assist them with setting it each night. It can also be fun to take your kids to choose their own alarm clock. If you let them pick out their own alarm clock it can help to build excitement. 

Even if your kids are young, I would recommend getting them involved in deciding how many minutes they will need to get downstairs on time and what time to set the alarm for.

Create a backpack ready zone in your home

Another simple shift that has saved us loads of time in the morning is not running all over the place to find our stuff! We used to race all over every morning looking for books, note books, items for certain days of school, lunch boxes, and water bottles to shove in our backpacks. It was inevitable that something was lost, we forgot things, and we ended up running late. 

creating a backpack ready zone streamlines your family morning routine

Now, we have a designated backpack ready zone. For us, this zone is in our living room on a shelf right near their homework station. It’s convenient for our kids that their backpacks “live” in close proximity to their desks, where they do their homework each evening. Instead of racing to find everything they need in the morning when we are in a time crunch, they now find it all before they even go to bed the night before when we are under far less stress to get out of the door. 

Each morning, my kids grab their backpack from its “home” and move it to our designated zone in the kitchen. This is where they pack their backpack with their lunch, water bottle, and any last minute items they don’t want to forget.

For your family, you are going to want to make sure your designated zone is in an area that works for you and your routine. Make sure the backpack zone is visible, easy for your kids to reach, and close to your exit location. This might be your kitchen, entryway, or mudroom. Get your kids involved in choosing and setting up your backpack ready zone. This will make them more likely to stick to the system. Wherever it is for you, just make sure it is easy!

Thanks to these simple changes, my kids now rush me out the door instead of the other way around! To help set up your own plan for your family morning routine, grab our completely FREE Family Chore and Money System Action Guide, here. You can also hop over to Facebook and watch me walk through how to use it, here. If you’d like even more support, let’s chat about 1:1 coaching and I’ll help you set up systems and routines that will work for your unique family.⁠⠀