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.⁠⠀

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.⁠⠀

How we Connect with Our Kids: Ideas for Parent Child One-on-One Time

How we Connect with Our Kids: Ideas for Parent Child One-on-One Time

This post contains affiliate links. Though there is a chance that I will receive a small commission from purchases made through these links, I assure you I do not recommend or endorse any product or service that I have not tried myself and do not whole-heartily support. 

I can so clearly recall the feelings I used to have about our household. It felt like I was grasping at straws trying to hold it all together. I felt pulled in a million directions but none were really where I felt I should be. I struggled to manage our family and all of the unique personalities that made it. 

Since that time, one system that’s become incredibly important in our home is spending one-on-one time with each of our children. Having special time with my children where we embrace an activity of their choosing really puts a smile on my face. I love connecting with each member of my family individually and really getting to know who they are and what they love. The best part of all, is that I can see and feel the joy in their heart when they have my complete and undivided attention. 

With some help and the implementation of what we call “Special Time” our family and household is now functioning more like a team and less like a circus. 

Mother and daughter spending one-on-one time outside

Why we do this

A few years back, it was becoming clear to us that our house was not always the calm atmosphere we’d envisioned creating for our kids. I was at my wits end trying to manage all of the family dynamics in our household. I just didn’t know how to approach certain behavioral issues with my kids.

We needed to acknowledge our own shortcomings in our family dynamic. We didn’t have bad kids – we had kids who were craving our undivided attention. Giving our kids our undivided attention is no longer difficult because we have a plan on hand and it has become part of our family systems and routines.

We also know that as our kids get older, the need for connection will become even more crucial. If we have established a close and connected one-on-one relationship with each of our children, as they go through middle school and teen struggles – they will feel safe and secure leaning on us because they are already used to having our undivided attention on a regular basis. 

How we got started

mother spending one-on-one time with her sonWe got started with adding one-on-one time with each of our kids to our daily schedules when we first began exploring Positive Parenting Solutions. One of the modules they provided that immediately caught our eye was the Mind Body and Soul Time. This is their video training module that goes over the specific steps you need to follow to get started with implementing parent/child one-on-one time with each of your kids. You know I love having an organized plan, so this was right up my alley!

With our kids, we call this “Special Time”. When we first started, we usually try to do it 10-15 minutes every night before bedtime. Each of our kids would start with one parent and at the end of that time, we switched. My hubby is a firefighter and gone for 2-3 days at a time. We keep him involved in this through the use of FaceTime. The ultimate recommendation is 1-2 times a day for 10-15 minutes everyday. For our family, 10-15 minutes before bedtime was what worked best. We shoot for having special time with each of our kiddos each night, but as they get older and involved in more sports and activities, we’ve had to become more flexible with this. Now, shoot for a half hour or an hour if we’ve needed to skip a few days. 

Some of our Favorite Activities

Activities will definitely vary based on your kids’ interests and ages. The activities will also likely change over time as they grow, mature, and their interests change. Another factor in choosing activities might be weather. Some of our favorite activities won’t be possible in rain or winter – but might be the top pic all summer long. 

I love to let my kids help with the process of choosing when we spend our time together and how we spend our time together. We usually play different board games. Some of our favorite are Uno, Monopoly, Guesstures, or Charades. We love board games! We also love playing cards, drawing, playing with toys, or imaginative play. Sometimes, we’ll even play a game on their iPad together.

Here are some additional one-on-one activity ideas your kids might enjoy:Pin for parent child One-on-one time

  • Building LEGOS
  • Baking
  • Hiking
  • Playing basketball, soccer, or baseball
  • Reading together
  • Coloring, drawing, or painting
  • Writing stories together
  • Dancing 

How you can Implement more one-on-one time in your home

Getting started with establishing a plan for one-on-one parent/child time can be super easy and fun! Pick a time and get it on your calendar, get your child involved with choosing how they’d like to spend their time, eliminate distractions for you and your child (put your phone down!), and get started!

Our “Special Time” has created such positive change in our home. It’s our job as parents to set our kids up for every possible success. Our goal as parents is to raise kids that are well prepared for adulthood. There are so many ways we can prepare them for what is to come in their future but one simple way is by creating a home atmosphere where they feel seen, understood and connected. 

We do this by spending one-on-one time with each of our children. By doing this, we know we are teaching them valuable lessons they can bring with them into their adult lives. 

If you’re ready to jump in but you’d like more info on how to implement this into your own family, I recommend checking out Positive Parenting Solutions. Take some time to check out their module on Mind Body and Soul Time. You won’t regret it. 

Save Kids from ‘Cranky Time’ During Daylight Savings

Save Kids from ‘Cranky Time’ During Daylight Savings

It’s that daylight savings time of year again, and you know what that means…cranky kids, temper tantrums, and no sleep for you, right?  Well, not necessarily…we’ve got you covered. The ‘spring ahead, fall back’ time changes can mix up everyone’s schedule.  The loss of just one hour can really affect a child’s attention span, appetite, and overall mood. You can minimize the effects of daylight savings time by being prepared.

Here are some helpful tips on how to get kids back on track so everyone can get a good night’s sleep. 

Allow Time for Gradual Adjustment:

It takes some time to adapt to a loss of sleep.  So if your child normally goes to bed at 8 p.m., put him/her to bed at 7:45 p.m., then 7:30 p.m., and so on, until they are going to bed as close to 7 p.m. as possible.  This step-by-step process is not as much a shock to the system, as it is when you abruptly expect your child to fall asleep an hour earlier after the time change. If you’re having trouble getting your child to bed earlier, which is often the case in older kids, then just focus on getting them up in the morning a bit earlier instead.  When daylight savings time ends in the fall, this gradual approach can still help — follow the same guidelines — just push the wake-up times and bedtimes a little later rather than earlier.

To Make Bedtime Easier, Control the Lights:

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your body’s internal clock. The levels of this hormone increase in the evening as it becomes dark to help induce sleep. Melatonin levels decrease when it’s light out to assist with wakefulness and alertness.  Daylight savings time alters your natural cycle, and the results can be particularly difficult for kids. I recommend dimming the lights in your child’s bedroom and turning off all electronics about 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. According to The National Sleep Foundation, these devices can reduce sleep time, sleep quality, and daytime alertness because of light exposure and brain engagement right before bedtime. 

In the morning, you should try to get your child into the light as much as possible. Natural sunlight is best, so if weather permits, make sure there is sunlight entering your home, or turn on the lights so it’s nice and bright! To help when you “fall back,” make sure your child has some light exposure in the early evening.  Be careful to ensure that your child’s room doesn’t become too bright too soon in the early morning.

Establish a Routine:

When daylight savings time begins or ends, it’s especially important to stick with a bedtime routine.  Your child is now dealing with a change in schedule that might throw him off.  It’s absolutely critical that they have a routine during bedtime because that’s what helps create a powerful signal for sleep. One option is giving your child a warm bath, reading him a book, and snuggling together before lights out.

Get Enough Sleep Beforehand:

In the days before you change your clocks, make sure your child is getting plenty of shut-eye. Sleep results in more sleep, so going into daylight savings time well-rested will greatly help your child because he won’t be cranky and overtired, which can make falling asleep even harder.

 

Be Supportive and Understanding:

In the days following daylight savings time, try to be more forgiving if your child is throwing extra temper tantrums or seems to be particularly frustrated or difficult in any way.  The time change can cause these short-term changes in your child’s mood, but your understanding and support will help them adjust a little better to the new schedule.

 

Take Care of You:

And most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself too!  Many adults feel sluggish and cranky themselves after the time switch, so make sure you’re getting the rest you need as well. Thankfully, these effects are all short-lived — within a week or so, everything should be back to normal.

As always, I’d love to hear which blogs resonate most with you!  Feel free to reach out and message me on Facebook & Instagram!

 

For more information, check out these resources:

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.

Kids Are Off to School – Get Your Sanity Back

Kids Are Off to School – Get Your Sanity Back

Kids Are Off to School – Get Your Sanity Back - PreparaMom

Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom, we all face similar challenges each and every day. 

Ultimately, all moms have the same goal — to ensure our kids are safe by creating an optimal learning and growing environment as best we can. It can seem crushing at times. Between juggling school work, extra-curricular activities, household chores, and events with family and friends, it feels like every single minute of the day is booked up. 

That doesn’t leave room for personal time for yourself. We do our best, but most days it all boils down to being able to do whatever we can to survive. Even though a lot of us are glad when the kids go back to school in the fall, that’s when the real business of being a mom kicks into high gear with all of the activities. 

 

So, how’s a mom to keep from losing her sanity when school starts back? 

One of the best ways you can gain order in your house is to set routines early. I know that a lot of people hate routines and talk about how stifling they are. Trust me when I say that routines will be your saving grace and will help you keep your sanity most days. 

And the earlier you can do this, the better off you will be. Sure, there will be a lot of days when the routine may be thrown off track. Add flexibility to your routine as deviations in routines can cause upset otherwise. You need to be able to roll with the changes. Kids Are Off to School - PreparaMom

 

Why have a routine in the first place? 

Because it will be that pattern of stability you can go back to when you need it. If the routine is already ingrained, it will be a lot easier to adhere to overall.

One of the biggest issues with scheduling time is from sports or extra-curricular activities. As parents who did not have these opportunities growing up, we work very hard to make sure our kids have the chance to take part in them. As they grow up, these activities allow them to explore what’s around them so they can figure out for themselves what they do and don’t enjoy.

 

Providing Stable Routines Help Children Grow in Their Independence

Besides expanding the boundaries of their world to include school, sports, and clubs, this is also the time when they are really settling into their own opinions and personalities. They’re not only looking outwardly, but also inwardly to assert their independence. Establishing a stable routine helps children confidently begin the process of taking on and increasing responsibilities.

It’s important to establish rules, boundaries, responsibilities, and discuss good and bad choices early on. We do this with the understanding they’ll take these life lessons to heart later on when their decisions will have greater consequences. We let them do as much for themselves as possible. I’m a firm believer in promoting their independence as a life skill so they don’t need to rely on others as they get older. 

Of course, things aren’t always going to be perfect because nothing goes as planned every single day. Some days will be better than others, but one thing is certain—different challenges will come and go. All that we can really do if we want to be successful parents is to give our kids tools so they can tackle the challenges that will come their way in the next phase of their lives.

 

Be Prepared for Accidents!

 

Enjoy knowing that no matter what happens at the park or playing ball – you know EXACTLY where your first aid kit supplies are. 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.

How I Keep Organization in My House with Kids

How I Keep Organization in My House with Kids

How I Keep Organization in My House with Kids - PreparaMom

Some of us parents were born with serious Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that we have to put on hold when it comes to raising kids. 

I have no idea how or exactly when I became so “anal” about having an organized home, but I am a firm believer that everything HAS to be in its given place. And I don’t mean that it just has to be in its given place. Everything that comes into the house HAS to have a designated “home.” If for some reason it doesn’t, it becomes an eyesore for me and it will bug me until it does find a proper place.

 

My Organization Begins when Anything Is Brought into the Home

 

I read a book about 4 to 5 years ago that gave me a great motto for living as someone who craves organization: “Like with like. One home for everything.” (You’re going to have to forgive me, but right now the title of the book totally escapes me, but I have never forgotten the concept.) Over the years, I’ve tried to implement this philosophy in pieces, but now I noted that I’m more “intense” about it (for lack of a better term). 

Basically, instead of just leaving stuff randomly placed anywhere and everywhere, identify a home for it. It can be a corner of the house, a drawer, a closet, a cabinet or even an entire room. Just designate that as the “official area” for whatever you’re adding to your household. 

 

Everything Has A Home Within the Home 

 

When you do this, the most important thing for you to remember is that everyone in the house must know where the homes are and what goes there. This way, you don’t have to have those monotonous conversations about putting things back where they belong. You need total buy-in on this for it to work. 

When my kids or my husband bring something home with them, I’m always on their case about where that item will live. They need to know exactly where to go to when they need that item and they need to know where to put it back when they’re finished.

 

My Office Supplies Provides a Great Example

 

So, let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. We now have dedicated office cabinets where nothing but office type supplies live. 

When I say “like with like,” I mean that all the writing tools, paper, binders, rulers, and note pads go here. Items of similar categories that make sense go together. And there’s only one home for it. So now there are no more questions of “Where’s a pen” or “Where’s this” or Where’s that”. Instead, my family knows if they need an office supply item, look in the “office cabinet/drawer” and be sure to put it back when they’re done.

Another great grouping that I know would help lots of people is my home for all things electronic. This is where we put everything like wires, cables, batteries, spare chargers, or anything else that is gadget related. (Wires are one of my pet peeves. If they are everywhere, it drives me nuts!)

This system has helped me to get my house organized and stay that way. Studies now prove what I thought about organization! Keeping your home organized relieves stress. Who can’t use a little less stress in their life?

 

Be Organized AND Prepared for Accidents!

 

Enjoy knowing that no matter what happens at the park or playing ball – you know EXACTLY where your first aid kit supplies are. 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.