When I was in junior high we had home economics and wood working classes, these classes were mandatory for all of us, girls and boys, took both classes. Learning life skills is important, and something that seems to be lacking in today’s society.
We all learned basic cooking skills, using tools, and sewing. I’m so thankful I was taught to use a sewing machine, as I married a man with short legs and it can be impassible to find pants for his legs that don’t need to be hemmed. I have also given birth to three tiny waist-ed long legged children whos pants tend to need to be taken in in the waist. Thank you to my lovely teacher!
These days, there is a real lack of practical training in schools and even in some homes. With so much focus on and resources for “pure” academics, and downloading the latest app, sometimes basic life skills fall behind. Here are 5 areas outside of academic focus that build the foundation for a happy, confident child:
- Cleaning & Organization
- Money Management
- Physical Health & Safety Preparedness
- Social Skills (aka Manners!)
I’ve rounded up some great tools in these area to help foster these important life skills.
Cleaning & Organizing
Zone Cleaning for Kids is really not just for kids. It has a reusable chart, how-tos, and a framework of understanding how to go about cleaning a whole house without getting overwhelmed. Kids from X to 100 feel empowered when they focus on one area at a time, check items off their lists, and see real results. It’s been said that a clean home makes for a clear mind – a crucial building block for a happy, successful life.
How to Cook
Microwaves and McDonald’s may be convenient but they are not the healthiest or most cost-effective options for meal time. Give your kids the tools to be confident and independent in the kitchen. When a child learns how to cook, they are developing math and fine-motor skills, learning about applied chemistry. Plus, it gives them the tools to carry on family and community traditions.
Your Kids: Cooking is a multimedia kit that teaches kids ages 8 and up the gamut of basic cooking skills using step-by-step video demonstrations and kid -friendly written recipes. Kids do all the cooking themselves – parents just sit back and relax. Now that’s a treat!
Whether your child is earning allowance, saving birthday money, or planning to make a million dollars after starting their own company, money management is an important topic for children to learn at an early age. You may be modeling strong practices, but how can you actively teach strong money – related habits?
Key to the Front Door is a board game that helps you do just that. In the game, players race to be the first to “master” their money. Use real-world scenarios to develop financial literacy. In the context of a game, you can avoid lectures while starting larger conversations.
Once you’ve played the game, you can apply what is learned in real life: Say your child wants to have a toy now, but they have a longer-term goal of building a tree-house. You can recall the game to usher them toward stronger financial choices on their own.
Physical Health & Safety Preparedness
Learning and establishing good eating and nutritional habits ideally starts at a young age, and the same applies to emergency preparedness.
Provide your child with an understanding of the building blocks of nutrition, such as the carbohydrates, lipids / fats, and proteins. Each are described in this guide, along with essential vitamins and minerals, and the principles of digestion.
The comprehensive guide also walks readers through treating common injuries and how to respond when someone is choking, making it an essential series for older siblings, babysitters, and family members who care for children!
Social Skills (aka Manners!)
Emotional Intelligence, also known at EQ, is something that many parents teach their children unknowingly, sometimes with a little help from our prim pal Emily Post. Some argue that it’s equally, if not more important than IQ. I argue it’s all important!
Go a step beyond telling children to “mind their manners” with a game that helps them not only develop social-emotional intelligence, but and understanding of how important it is to a fulfilled life. Q’s Race to the Top does just that.
Structured similarly to Candyland, with card drawing and game piece progressions. Cards questions like “What does it mean to be brave?” or “Name something that’s boring. How can you make it fun?” You may be surprised by the discussions prompted by this game as well as the wisdom and clarity coming from young minds.