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
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
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!
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.⠀
Deciding whether or not to implement a chore system in your home can be tricky. There are many factors that may weigh on your decision as to if it is the right time for your family to get started with a chore system. Some things to consider are your kids ages, physical abilities, cognitive abilities, and ability to adjust to new routines.
In our home, for our kids, we are in favor of establishing chore systems early. This is because of the multitude of positive values having a chore system has taught our children. Four particular values stand out to us as the most important.
Here are the top 4 values your kids will learn when you begin to implement a chore system in your home:
Teaching kids about responsibility can be a little tricky because it’s multifaceted. There are multiple ways to approach responsibility – being responsible, acting responsibly, having responsibilities, and taking responsibility. The common thread is that they all relate to doing what is expected of us.
Responsibility is an important trait to instill in our children because it opens their eyes to expectations. When children take on new responsibilities, it establishes rules, habits, and routines that form the basis for all future interactions. Assigning your child chores gives them something they can be responsible for and take ownership of.
Establishing the value of responsibility leads to trust and freedom within your parent-child relationship. It also leads right into accountability, as this is what your child will need to acknowledge if they are not responsible, acting responsibly, or taking care of their responsibilities.
Once your kids understand responsibility, it becomes easier for them to grasp the concept of accountability, too. When your child takes responsibility for their actions, their items, or their mistakes – the idea of accountability grows clear. Accountability does not need to have a negative connotation. Accountability is owning up to something you’ve done wrong or failed to do and accepting the consequences.
For kids, accountability is all about taking ownership of and following through with their responsibilities. The follow through is the sweet spot where your kids will see the results of their hard work and begin to feel pride in what they are doing.
Our goal in establishing chore systems is to help our kids understand that being accountable for their actions and responsibilities means they are holding themselves to a high standard
Habits and Routines
Developing habits and routines are an integral part of running any happy household. Kids thrive on routines. When kids develop positive habits and routines, they know what to expect, feel secure and supported, and release anxiety.
There’s also positive benefits for the parents. For you, it will look like less nagging and reminding, you’ll be less stressed, and you’ll have more time together as a family.
Habits and routines in a home teach kids how to self-manage, work together as a family, and create a home environment that is full of positivity. Chore systems easily become a part of your family routine and habits. Kids know and expect they will be handling their assigned tasks and they welcome the comfort of this consistency.
Our ultimate goal as parents is to set our kids up to be successful adults. Of course, we want to keep them safe – but we also want them to grow into independent, healthy, and happy adults. As a parent, there is a delicate balance between guiding our kids and letting them care for themselves, when the time comes.
When you establish chore systems in your home, you will watch your children become more independent right in front of your eyes. As they take responsibility for their chores, accept accountability, and develop their routines – they will begin to need your support and guidance around these particular chores less and less.
When children develop independence, they become equipped with necessary life skills, self sufficient, empowered, and confident. As parents, isn’t that what we all want for our children?
Are you ready to implement a family chore system in your home but you just don’t know how to get started or get yourself organized? We’ve got you covered! Grab our totally FREE Family Chore and Money System Action Guide and we will walk you through the step-by-step process of designing, implementing, and sticking to a plan that works for your family.
When I was in elementary school, I was made fun of quite a bit because I looked and dressed differently. Thankfully it never went any further than name calling.
But even with just that, those childhood memories are still ingrained in me. And I’m not the only one. It seems more and more that we’re hearing about people who were bullied in much the same way as children.
Kids can be so mean and hurtful and the bad part is, they may not even realize they are doing it. They either haven’t had someone to teach them that the behavior is unacceptable, or they haven’t learned exactly how to behave properly.
One thing I knew for sure about having kids of my own was that I was going to make sure they knew how to stand up for themselves and even more important, that they aren’t the ones being the bully.
Some things I emphasize with my kids on an ongoing basis about bullying:
- Utilize teachable moments (i.e. tv/movie bullying scenes, real life examples). This is a great way to engage them in a conversation about what their thoughts are when watching these scenes and how it should have been handled.
- Ignore the kids that aren’t being nice. Most of the time, bullies will only continue to bother you if they know they can get a reaction from you. If you ignore them, they will move on and leave you alone.
- Engage your kids in activities that boosts their confidence and self-esteem. This can include sports and other extra-curriculars that help give them confidence. But it can also be from giving them tasks and jobs around the house, helping them get that boost of accomplishment.
On the other hand, what’s even more important is that my kids know it’s never ok to treat others badly. With that in mind, I ask them to remember that they should always:
- Be kind
- Be helpful
- Be considerate
- Stand up for others
- Not say anything if they don’t have any nice to say
- Put yourself in the shoes of others and ask yourself if you would want that to happen to you
For more information, check out these bullying resources:
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Would you agree that kids tend to give up too easily?
My kids sure do.
Take my daughter and her homework for example. When she gets stuck on a problem, she gets really frustrated and whines about how she cannot figure it out.
She ends up sitting there, pouting…which leads to no homework being done.
So, what does mommy or daddy do? We come over and tell her how to do it. Which is all fine
and dandy because we do want her to know that we’re there for her when she needs help.
The problem was in how we, as her parents, were helping her.
Instead of guiding her into figuring out the solution to the problem herself, we were essentially giving her the answers.
Instead of having her attempt to talk out loud her thought process to figure out where she is
actually getting stuck and what exactly she doesn’t understand, we tend to jump in a little too early.
Anyone else guilty of jumping in too soon to help their kids?
She was not thinking for herself. What kids these days are missing is that critical thinking component.
Here are a few ways we take away from our kids’ independence:
- Tell them the answer right away
- Do it for them
- Tell them how we think the task should be done
Ways we let kids think for themselevs and become more independent:
- Ask your kids to explain what they’re stuck on
- Give kids questions to think about as a way to guide them on what they need to ask themselves next to figure the problem out
One thing I’m working on with my kids is how to manage their time, especially in the morning.
Now this didn’t happen overnight, but we’ve gotten them on a morning routine that they are now used to.
They wake up, brush their teeth, get dressed, make their beds, come downstairs, get their backpacks ready to go, unload the dishwasher and eat breakfast.
My daughter does not like being tardy but she’s probably the one that drags her feet the most.
Most days she is good about getting her list done. Some days, like today, we’re twenty minutes from needing to leave the house and she has barely walked down the stairs.
Normally, I would jump in and remind them of the time and how they’ll be late if they don’t hurry up.
This time, I just let them be.
Eventually one of them noticed what time it was, and they got their act together.
We made it to school with 1 minute to spare but the entire time during the car ride there, they were quite nervous. Especially when we had to stop at each red light.
But the lesson here is that if I don’t let them figure things out for themselves and learn things the hard way, then I am not doing them any favors.
The quicker I let them fail and learn from their mistakes, the better it is for them in the long run.
An excellent example I got from another mom that I’m starting to implement with my own kids now is what I call, the Power of 3.
If they have a problem, they need to figure out for themselves three different ways they can solve that problem before coming to an adult to get help.
This could be anything. The key is that when they come asking for help, they need to list out the three things they did to figure it out for themselves.
This promotes independence, self-reliance, critical thinking, problem solving skills, and confidence while preventing co-dependency, low self-esteem and lack of confidence. And who doesn’t want that for our kids?
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Part of being a good parent is teaching your kids to be self-sufficient and responsible. And part of that means doing your own laundry. Getting my kids to do their own laundry has been a huge time saver for us! The earlier you can get this routine implemented with your own kids, the easier it will be for you and your family.
Don’t Push Your Kids – But Don’t Wait Too Long Either!
Please remember, every child is different and develops at a different pace. But that being said, overall, kids are more capable of doing things on their own than we give them credit for. (Let’s face it—if they can operate a smart phone or video game system, they can do their own laundry!)
The problem is that we either subconsciously don’t want them to be independent or we think that it will just be quicker and easier if we do it ourselves instead of taking the time to teach them how to do it.
The Best Way to Teach Laundry Responsibility To Your Kids
The best way to do all of this is to introduce laundry to them in phases. When they’re younger, get them involved in the laundry process with you. Let them see you sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting the clothes away. Be sure to explain what you’re doing as you go so they can understand it.
Teach Kids in Phases All the Parts of Laundering
As your kids get older, you can let them join you in doing different parts of the laundry. This can include simple tasks like sorting their own clothes out into a pile to fold or have them fold something simple with you like shorts or small towels.
The idea is that eventually, over time, they will become used to all the different processes and (with a little supervision in the beginning) you can let them do each part of the laundry process on their own.
The phases my kids went through when they were learning to do laundry:
- Phase 1 — Put their folded clothes away
- Phase 2 — Fold their own clothes + Phase 1
- Phase 3 — Take their clothes out of the dryer + Phase 2 + Phase 1
- Phase 4 — Take their clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1
- Phase 5 — Put their dirty clothes into the washer + Phased 4 + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1
- Phase 6 — Put detergent and fabric softener in and start the washing machine + Phase 5 + Phase 4 + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1
A Little Investment of Time, Pays Off Eventually
I think I started my kids on this process when they were 5 and 7, although I definitely could have involved them in it a lot earlier. Now they are 8 and 10 and they’re doing their entire laundry on their own. (Up until last week, my oldest was taking care of measuring out the detergent. But now, the 8-year-old wants to learn how to pour out the detergent, so he’s getting there!)
It is SOOOOO worth it to take that extra time and effort to train the kids on these processes. I know sometimes it’s much quicker to just do it yourself. But in the long run, your kids will learn how to be more self-sufficient and you won’t regret the decision to teach them when they are young.
Be Prepared All the Time!
At the park or playing ball – be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind. Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.
Our kids are learning and getting skilled at so much in school these days. I’m surprised sometimes at what they learn at their age!
But there are three areas of life I’m sure we can all agree we wish we had learned in school—cleaning, cooking, and budgeting.
These are the three areas you must teach your children as soon as possible.
If your kids take off to college with these skill sets, they’ll be off to a great start as responsible adults!
This is one that you need to instill in your children early on. Make them responsible for small tasks like cleaning up the sink after they brush their teeth and then move on to more complex matters like making their bed.
By the time they go off to college, they should know how to do their own laundry, instead of bringing it back home for you to wash, and to take care of basic household cleanups such as stains. The college stereotype of students living in a pig-sty should not apply to your kids.
This skill is one that so many kids don’t master early on, leading to some major problems later.
First, your child needs to be taught how to cook healthy foods. When they go off to college, they’re going to want to lean towards quick, unhealthy junk foods that can ruin their health for years to come. (Anyone remember the “Freshman Fifteen”?)
But it also leads into the next area of budgeting as well. If your child learns now to cook his or her own food, then he won’t have to waste money eating expensive (and unhealthy) fast food.
I wish that I had learned how to manage money at a younger age. If I had, then maybe, just maybe, I would have made better decisions and not managed to rack up over $120K in consumer debt! (A word to the wise…don’t charge your entire wedding on credit cards!)
Thankfully, with A LOT of hard work and sacrifices, we were able to dig ourselves out of our mess. After that, I swore to myself that we’d never put ourselves into that predicament ever again and will make sure our kids don’t either. That’s why we help teach our kids early on about money management and how to delay gratification by saving up to buy the things you want instead of buying on credit.
Three Big Areas of Life That All Kids Can Benefit from Learning
Budgeting is just one of those life skills that every parent should instill in their children. And, of course, if they can cook and clean for themselves, it’s one less thing we have to worry about for them. If you can instill the importance of those skills at an early age, you can be sure that they will be much more successful as adults.
Teach Kids the Healthy Habit of Being Prepared!
Kids like being prepared for the bumps, bruises and owies of childhood. Be prepared with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind. Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.