Recently I spoke with a group of parents about what life skills we thought were most important to prepare the kiddies to live independently.
It was a fascinating conversation and I recommend bringing it up at your next gathering. Here are a few skills I think all kids should have before they leave the house.
Managing their own money
Sadly, most kids are clueless about budgeting basics. Even young children should be encouraged to spend their own money for purchases. Whether you give an allowance or pay for chores or both, show them how to save, spend and donate.
Whatever your bill paying system is, share it with your kids. These days it’s so easy to pay bills there’s no excuse for not letting your kids help. They don’t even have to lick a stamp. Allow your child to be responsible for remembering to pay a monthly bill as soon as they can handle it. (Of course, you should follow up to be sure they do it!) I suggest starting with the electric bill because they also get to see how the family’s actions can vary the monthly amount.
You wanna eat, you gotta cook. A three-year-old can help prep a salad and it goes forward from there. By the time any kid is out of high school they should own at least one cookbook, know how to plan a menu, grocery shop for the family, comparison shop, make healthy meals and have basic knife skills. Also, know basic food safety and how to clean up as they cook.
This is a catch-all for everything from brushing their teeth to washing their clothes. If they can operate a game console they can push buttons on a clothes washer and dryer. Teach them to do their own laundry. Older kids can wash their own bedding and help with family laundry like towels.
High school-age kids can make their own appointments for dental check-ups, and haircuts. Since I’m talking about high schoolers, I’d love to assume they’ve mastered the art of showering but if you need to make a checklist reminding them to use deodorant, shave, floss, trim their nails and clean their ears – do it. Then leave it to them.
Get from point A to point B
Starting in middle school, kids can be responsible for managing schedules and arranging carpools to activities. Let them do it. Here in Pahrump we don’t have public transportation but when you get the kiddies out of town be sure to let them take the lead in reading bus and train schedules, reading maps, figuring out how to schedule connections.
When you go to theme parks or zoos, give the kids the maps and let them plot the route. Older kids can practice making travel arrangements with air travel, car rentals, and booking hotels.
It’s our job as parents to make highly-functioning adults that will be good partners and parents. I hope this will start a conversation, what would you add to the list? Thank you to Pahrump Community Church Youth Group for letting us photograph the wonderful kids.
Frugal fodder contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom