My oldest son turned 9 last month & I was hit pretty hard by the reality of his rapid aging.
As I watched him slowly unwrap his presents with a newly acquired sense of cool calm & only a fraction of his past enthusiasm, I was hit pretty hard with the fact that my time with him is increasingly limited; he is one year away from double digits, four years away from the teens, & half way to adulthood. And that’s when the panic & fear slowly settled in. I have only a few years to prepare him for life before he gets faced with it first hand. I have cared for his physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, academic, social, & behavioral well-being, but have I prepared him for what he will inevitably & all-too-soon encounter? There are so many valuable life skills every child needs to learn before they become adults.
As parents, we are so eager to make life easy on our kids that sometimes we forget just how capable our children are. We are quick to do for them rather than teach them how to do for themselves. We wrongly rob them of the invaluable opportunities they so need. Or we automatically expect that teachers, coaches, or other leaders will cover all the necessary topics that we neglect to teach in the home.
I’ll admit, I was not prepared for life when I moved out of my parents home & into my first apartment. My poor roommates were so patient with my primal cleaning techniques, my endless use of the microwave, & my first go at doing laundry that resulted in a broken washing machine. So, in an attempt to get back on track & make the most of the rapidly dwindling time we have before our children are legally grown, I’ve put together a list of some of the most important lessons every adult should know. Whether they go straight into the workforce, take off time to travel, or begin a college career, these are life skills every child needs to learn before reaching adulthood.
Life Skills Every Child Needs to Learn
- How to vote
- How to do laundry
- What interest rates are
- How to do minor yard work
- Schedule keeping & calendaring
- Appointment making
- How to change a tire
- How to jump start a car
- Online security
- How to back up your data
- Basic first-aid
- The Heimlich maneuver
- Caring for a lawn
- How to tip
- Proper communication skills
- How to shake hands
- Parallel parking
- How to cook using a stove, an oven, & a slow-cooker
- Minor home improvements
- How to deep clean
- Proper banking including savings accounts, checking accounts, & balancing a check book
- What a dress code means & how to follow it
- How to pick out ripe produce
- How to shop for meat
- Paying taxes & bills
- How to write a resume & cover letter
- How to interview
- Basic clothes mending
- Proper health care (when & how to schedule doctors/dentist appointments)
- How & when to write a thank you letter
- How to plunge a toilet
- Basic medical care (how to handle a cold, flu, etc.)
As well as physical life skills there are other very important emotional skills that will help your child succeed as an adult.
Emotional Skills Every Child Needs to Learn
- How to Apologize
- How to Forgive
- Appropriate body language
- Listening skills
- How to accept feedback
- How to give positive criticism
- How to say “no”
- Generosity & giving-back
- How to make friends
- Negotiating skills
- How to compromise
- How to start a conversation & make small talk
- Exercising self-control
- Following through
- How to ask for help
Real life is scary. And overwhelming at times. It doesn’t come with a handbook (although if it did, that book would be a guaranteed best-seller). As parents, we have the responsibility to prepare our children as best as we can before they leave our homes & take on the world.
And it’s never too early to start.
What are some ways you’ve prepared your children? Do you have any recommended life skills every child needs to learn before they grow up?
Preparing our children for life on their own is no easy task! If you need even more inspiration on teaching and preparing your children while they are still in the home, check out these great ideas: