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.⁠⠀

4 Signs Your Kids Need to Learn the Value of Money

4 Signs Your Kids Need to Learn the Value of Money

The day you realize your child or children have no concept of the value of money can be both jarring and eye opening. We all want to raise confident, empowered, educated, well prepared kids. But often times, our desire to give our kids the absolute best can lead to entitlement issues. 

In reality, the best gift we can give our kids is an education in life. One of the most important life skills for any kid to learn is the value of money. It’s not always an easy concept, especially for young kids or kids who’ve already established a pattern of being given everything they ask for. But, it’s also never too late to start and reverse old patterns that didn’t serve your family well. 

You might be wondering if it’s time to start talking to your kids about the value of money. If you’re wondering about it, I’m guessing you’re already beginning to see the signs below and that’s why it’s begun to weigh on you.

Here are 4 signs your kids need to learn the value of money

They say “I need” when it’s really a want. Pinterest image - 4 signs your kids need to learn the value of money

Teaching our kids the difference between a want and a need can be so difficult. While it is tricky to explain to littles and sometimes confusing for them to work out in their minds, it is so important. If they think they “need” things that are very clearly wants, this is a major red flag. 

They tell you to just put it on your credit card. 

The first time I told my child we weren’t getting something because I didn’t have cash on me and he responded with, “That’s okay mom, just put it on your credit card”, I actually froze in my spot. 

Kids see, hear, and absorb more than you might expect. Which means, they’re likely seeing and hearing ads for credit cards all over the place. 

If you don’t show them your cards or talk to them about credit, from what they see on TV, they may think credit cards are a magical flow of endless money in every adult’s pocket. If they can verbalize this – it’s time to talk to them about how credit really works.

They expect to get something whenever you’re out shopping.

I feel like this was one of my biggest mom fails for a long time. Every time we were out shopping ANYWHERE I would allow my kids to pick something. To me, it was worth the money to have them cooperate on the shopping trip. 

Boy was I wrong about what this habit was actually teaching my kids. The headaches it gave me down the road were far worse than simply having said “No” on the spot. Which leads us nicely to…

They throw a tantrum when you say “No” to a purchase in a store. 

Child throwing a tantrum in the store because she doesn't know the value of moneyEvery parent HATES being the one who’s kid is melting down in the store. So, many of us do whatever we can to avoid it. Like, letting them have whatever they want just to simply avoid the public embarrassment and shame that will come along with their tantrum. 

In reality, if they react this way to your saying no, it’s a definite sign that they need to learn about what can and can’t be bought and why. They need to learn how money works and when and where it should be spent. 

It’s never too early to start talking about money

Bottom line, it’s never too early to start talking to your kids about money and showing them the real value of money. The more kids see and are involved in your conversations about finances and budgeting, the better prepared they’ll be to handle their own finances as young adults. 

If you grew up with no concept of the value of money, you don’t have to repeat the pattern with your own children. 

Now that you know your child NEEDS to learn about money, what do you do?

First, you’ll need to know if they are cognitively ready to learn about money. Can they count? This is important. For more information on determining if they are cognitively ready to talk about money, check out this post

If you decide that they can handle the topic, next you need a plan. This is where we can help you! We’ve devised an action plan for establishing a chore system and budget WITH our kids. To completely understand the value of money, it’s so important that your kids be involved in the family budgeting process.

The Top 4 Values Kids Learn from a Family Chore System

The Top 4 Values Kids Learn from a Family Chore System

doing laundry with mom, part of a family chore systemDeciding 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:

Responsibilitykids doing chores according to their family chore system

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. 

Accountability

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

doing dishes as part of a family chore systemDeveloping 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. 

Independence

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.

Holiday Travel on a Budget

Holiday Travel on a Budget

online safety for kids

‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,’ (as the song goes) and that means we have holiday decorating, lots of shopping, to-do’s that go on for miles, holiday menus to plan, parties, and some will be planning their holiday travel on a budget to visit their friends and loved ones. If you are one of the lucky ones who will be singing that tune called ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ this holiday season, you might also be wondering how you can afford it.

Traveling during the holidays to visit friends, relatives and loved ones can be super expensive, and sometimes just that extra dose of stress that we don’t need during this time of year. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to this magical season, but I also think it’s important to be prepared and plan accordingly to stick to our family budget while we have fun at the same time.

If your family will be traveling for the holidays, here are some helpful tips to make it an unforgettable holiday that you will want to ‘remember’ instead of ‘forget.’

online safety for kids
online safety for kids

1. Book Last Minute

This might sound strange, but it’s already December and a little too late to be thinking about booking your last-minute travel plans in advance. The good news is that it might be better for your wallet.  A local hotel owner or Bed & Breakfast, will be much more likely to agree to a discount if they are unlikely to sell the last bed to someone else. Or, while they may not drop the price, perhaps you can persuade them to upgrade your room or throw in a free spa experience that every mom can use this time of year. 

The same goes for booking flights, rental cars, and tickets for special attractions at your destination of choice. I know friends who have found last-minute $300 flights from NYC to Paris for the holidays, while others have been upgraded to a Mercedes convertible rental car for the same price as a minivan. Winning! So it can be done!

2. Take Advantage of Apps

Gone are the days of sorting through individual hotel or airport websites. Now, aggregator apps can do most of the work for you. Find your lodging through Hipmunk https://www.hipmunk.com/, which searches hundreds of major travel sites. Figure out your fuel coast with Gasbuddy’s trip calculator  https://www.gasbuddy.com/. And find the best airline deals and the best times to fly and buy with Hopper https://www.hopper.com/.

3. Think of Your Trip as a Gift in Itself

If you have older kids and teens, they should be able to appreciate that a family trip during the holidays costs money and can really be considered a gift in its own right. Help your kids understand the gift of travel, and allow them to plan a portion of your vacation and pick one special activity each. If possible, try to spend a day doing each child’s special outing of their choice. Another option is to gift kids souvenir money instead, (in the currency of your destination if traveling abroad) and don’t put any restrictions on how they spend it.

4. Consider Gift-Giving in a New Way:

Let’s be real.  Chances are you won’t have a lot of room in your carry-on luggage to bring gifts if you will be opting for air travel, or you may not even have enough room if traveling by car. You can always try gift-giving on the go! Simply draw a family member’s name and shop for them while you’re traveling. 

Try to focus on smaller, stocking-stuffer type gifts and gift your kids with one smaller gift each day during your trip, instead of giving all gifts on Christmas morning. Small toys, crafts, goodies, and games they’ll use during your travels, are excellent ideas.  For those celebrating Hanukkah, this ‘new’ system will feel even easier to implement. 

5. Ship Your Presents

If you can’t get around buying everyone on your list a smaller gift, then thank goodness for‘Santa’s Magic Sleigh.’ Instead of paying annoying baggage fees or renting a semi-truck to hold all of your stuff, take advantage of free shipping deals as soon as possible to send the presents to your destination. Your suitcases will be smiling, and your kids won’t be sitting on the floor of your car trying to find a place to sit for the road trip.

6. Use Gift Cards and Points

Cardpool https://www.cardpool.com/ and Raise https://www.raise.com/ are great sites for finding discounted gift cards with leftover cash on them. Buy several and use them to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car or a few restaurant meals while you’re on the road. 

7. Let Santa Know

A recent study by HomeAway has shown that 84% of families will spend the holidays together. But traveling to be with family can have its difficulties. Kids worry that Santa won’t find them, which causes unnecessary stress during a festive vacation. Check out: Message from Santa!https://apps.apple.com/us/app/a-call-from-santa/id933921849! They have solved this problem for parents. Just download the app with your iPhone and let your child leave Santa a voicemail telling him where you’ll be for the holidays and Santa will find you!. This app also comes with a lot of different cool features such as personal video messages from Santa, a phone call from Santa, and even send a text message and he’ll reply instantly! Even Santa needs to take a break once in a while from the elves.

8. Pack Snacks

We all know the minute you get everyone in the car for a road trip, someone is going to get the munchies. If you start filling up on snacks at every gas station or pit-stop, you’re going to run low on travel funds quickly.  Instead of buying those unhealthy snacks like chips, candy, and soda at convenience store prices, make sure to pack your snacks before you hit the road. Bring popcorn, pretzels, juice packs, bottled water etc., so everyone can snack healthy and be less cranky at a fraction of the price.

9. Be Flexible

The secret is out! We all know that flying or driving on Christmas Day, can be a great budget-saver. Not only does it reduce stress, but it means cheaper flights and fewer gas-depleting traffic jams! Entertain the idea of traveling on this day if possible, and give your loved ones a ‘Christmas Miracle’ when you ring their doorbell on Christmas Day!

10. Buy Less Stuff

Even though we may not want to hear it, in order to save money…you have to buy less stuff. Always remember, the most important thing about the holidays is spending quality time with our friends, family and loved ones. No amount of gifts, decorations, or fancy hotels will ever replace that. Your presence alone will be the most memorable gift you could ever give.

Enjoy the holidays this year, while implementing these ten budget-friendly holiday travel tips. When you do, you’ll enjoy the holidays and your much-needed family vacation!

Safe Travels.

Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!

At the park or playing ball – your kids can 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.