Here’s my confession: My middle school-aged kids don’t know enough life skills. My expectations of what they should be able to do are a far cry from their actual abilities, and it’s my fault. I’m not alone. In a recent conversation with other parents, I discovered that many of us are coddling our kids. And we’re crippling them in the process.
So let's start teaching our children life skills sooner rather than later. Sure, there’s a lot of time between preschool and high school, but those years fly by. Here are 11 skills your son or daughter should know by the time they enter high school. Otherwise, you will have a 20-year-old texting you to help them survive the day-to-day experiences of life.
1. Do Laundry
Whether it’s running the actual machines, or folding and putting clothes away — get them involved.
2. Cook a Meal
Summer programs offer cooking camps for kids as young as eight years old, where they learn how to chop foods and use an oven. Start a cooking camp each day in your kitchen, when it's time to make dinner.
3. Clean a Bathroom
The day my son said dirty toilets are disgusting is the day I shoved a toilet bowl brush in his hand and introduced him to the disgusting chore of cleaning them.
4. Dress Themselves
At an early age, kids should learn how to button shirts, zip pants, and fasten buckles themselves.
5. Sew a Button
Budget and time constraints are forcing schools to eliminate required home economics classes, but that doesn’t mean buttons are going to stop falling off. They should learn the basics of mending their own clothes.
6. Wake Themselves Up on Time
If your child can operate a smartphone or tablet, he or she can manage an alarm clock.
7. Pitch In Before Being Asked
Just because it’s not on their chores list doesn’t mean they can’t do it. Not only does this teach them life skills, it teaches them the art of being kind and helping out.
8. Advocate for Themselves
Stop emailing and calling the teacher or coach on your kid's. Instead, teach them how to write a proper email or talk to an adult. Kids have to find their own voice, express their own concerns, and stand up for themselves when needed.
9. Pack Their Own Bags
Whenever we travel anywhere, I tell my kids how many days and nights we’ll be gone and it’s their responsibility to pack their own clothing and essentials.
10. Shake Hands
This skill can be taught at a very early age. Kids aren’t born knowing how to do it, but adults are expected to have the skill mastered.