Not long ago, I wrote my most popular post ever on this blog, 10 Life Skills Every Child Needs To Succeed Before Leaving Home.
I wrote this post after visiting with some college students and realizing that many of them had very limited basic skills! Many of them had taken advanced high school science, math, and English classes but had no idea how to manage a checkbook, be able to get to class on time or how to plan or cook meals. As I was talking to them about this, I heard over and over again, “I don’t know how!” “No one taught me how to do that. Mom just did it for me!”
This was scary and eye opening for me. These were all skills that I learned from my parents, grandparents, or in school. One of the girls, who has a very respectable college GPA, sheepishly confessed that she didn’t know how to brown hamburger (and was really embarrassed about it, but her mother didn’t cook, and no one had ever taught her how!)
These conversations became a turning point in my mothering adventure. One of the most important things I will do in my life is raising my five children, forever having an impact on the generations of our family to come. Whether they are taught to love Jesus, be responsible, or be able to function in society, largely depends on my attitude and involvement with them as young children.
It also made me realize how little time I have to shape these little people before they will be leaving my home and begin their own adult lives. As parents, it is our job to prepare the kids to leave our home with the essential skills they need.
My kids are still fairly young, but it is never too early to start teaching these skills. As we were looking at the calendar yesterday, there are only 13 more Saturday’s until our school is out for summer. Summer always seems to be when we should have ample time to do things as a family, but without a plan, it quickly ends and the school year begins again.
Life is the same way. The minutes keep ticking and time passes whether we are living intentionally or just letting time pass by. Without direction and purpose, it’s easy to see how parents can miss the mark on training up their kids. However, that is no excuse. Our children should be one of our very top priorities.
Over the next 10 weeks, I will be going into detail on each of the following 10 skills. Each week, one of the skills will be highlighted and I will give examples of how to teach these skills and how to work on them with various age groups of children. It is also important to incorporate these new skills into daily life while also making it fun.
As my oldest child is almost 11, I definitely find myself agreeing with the saying that, “they grow up so quickly!” Being intentional women we can encourage each other while we succeed in giving our kids the tools they need to leave the house and live a successful life!
Here are the 10 Life Skills that will be covered over the next several weeks with a few examples of what I will be discussing!
- To love and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. (Examples: taking children to church, praying as a family, devotions, and creating prayer journals.)
- To love and serve others and the community. (Examples: blessing others, being a friend, hospitality, and serving as a family.)
- To be able to manage emotions (self-control, anger, adapt to situation, etc). (Skills include manners, sharing with others, taking turns, and practice speaking on the telephone!)
- To be an independent thinker and a problem solver, but be also be able to compromise. (Ideas include playing games, learning how to speak to adults and how to ask them questions, and activities dealing with responsibility and leadership.)
- To be a good listener, deliver forgiveness, persistence, and being resilient. (Examples include asking questions, reading stories of historical people whose character represents what you want your child to learn, and playing games like Simon Says or Red-Light/Green-Light.)
- To understand the balance of work, family, and recreation. (Skills include chores, eating meals together, and playing together.)
- To have healthy habits (hygiene, eating, goal setting). (Examples are tea parties, time management, proper hygiene, learning how to set goals.)
- To be able to manage money (budgeting, balancing checkbook). (Skills include playing grocery store, opening a savings account, allowances, and learning to give and save.)
- To be able to manage a home (cooking, cleaning, sewing, etc). (Examples: baking cookies or a favorite meal, meal planning, and grocery shopping, learning how to sew a button, how to do laundry, and basic repairs.)
- To have basic car knowledge (change a tire, check the oil). (Skills include how to check the oil, how to fill up a car with gas, and changing a flat tire.)
How you have taught your children these life skills? Which skills do you feel are the most important or are there any others you would add to the list?
Such a good reminder! A lot of times as parents we do things ourselves just because it’s easier, but we’re missing out on teaching our kids…
Marjorie Dawson says
Being able to listen and be an independent thinker is vital I think. With those tow skills you can ask for help, think advice through and make balanced decision. Good list.
Alison at NOVA Frugal Family says
So true! I know that there are many things that I would rather do because it is faster but it doesn’t teach our kids the great lessons that they need to know. Thanks for the reminder!! It makes me sad that people don’t learn some of these things at home and school is dropping most of these basic skills. I know that I took home ec and shop in school and they taught me a lot of skills that they don’t teach anymore and I learn most of them at home first anyway (although easier to learn at school because my teacher was more patient then my mom with me). Going to make sure that I am teaching these to my son!
Teaching our children is one of the most important things in our life!! Thanks for your valuable post!!!
These are all great life lessons. Many I didn’t even know how to do when I left home & that way a very long time ago. I hope that I am doing a better job. I look forward to reading your upcoming posts.
Desiree Arpin says
Being a parent is a difficult task. I feel there are so many life lessons that I didn’t have a chance to learn. That makes it more difficult to teach my children to be the people that need to be.
Patty Mejia Burke says
Everything but the last one!
As soon as my son (almost 15) could reach the stove by standing on a step-stool, he’s been in the kitchen. He’s my fave sous-chef! My mom was always concerned that he’d burn himself and yes, that’s a realistic concern, but everyone gets burnt once in a while.
I think that your first Life Skill is the most important; we have tried to instill a love of God and of our Church into our son; this year he gets confirmed and it’s exciting for us.
Parenting is fun – and challenging – so many things to teach and so little time 🙂
Great post! It’s so true that many kids didn’t learn these life skills. Glad to see you’re instilling them into your children (and with the right priorities). Your number 1 is so important! Living each day intentionally is so huge! Glad to have come across your blog.
Rachel Lavern@Online Biz Boomer Babe says
I like the skills that you deemed important to teach children. Well, all except that last one. That is what auto dealerships/auto mechanics are for 🙂
Rachel recently wrote Using the Oreo Cookie to Get Clients
Oh my goodness, this is such a fascinating post. I will definitely be following along with you. My daughter is only 3, but I am always trying to help her to be more independent and self sufficient. Hopefully, your posts will give me some ideas. Thank you very much in advance!
Vita @ VitaLivesFree says
So very true! For me, the most important ones would be teaching them how to live a healthy lifestyle, how to eat well and how to cook it, how to be in control of emotions and how to think independently. Everything else would come naturally in life just by looking at us and others as an example. I don’t think some things need to be taught. Thanks for sharing such a great article! It certainly made me think.
It always amazes me that people don’t learn to do some of the simplest things. My fiancés mom has lived her entire life relying on other people and hiding behind, I just dont know how do do this or that. Then people do it for her. Life skills are so important.
Vanessa S says
Great article! My mother never taught me how to cook anything. I didn’t even know what to buy at the grocery store in order to cook a meal. Mac and cheese was the limit of my skills. On the other hand, a high school history teacher took time out of our school year and taught us how to do a simple tax form. It was the most helpful day of high school!
I love this! Love, love, love it! This is an issue that my mom and I do not see eye to eye on. I have taught my kiddos how to do laundry, dishes, and basic household chores since they were little. It amazes me how adults do not know these things. You have made some great points beyond the household items…. thank you!
Jennifer S. at The Doodlebug Adventures says
What an amazing post! I couldn’t agree more with your list. I was just talking with a close friend about where a pair of parents went wrong with their youngest child. They never taught her to do many of the things mentioned and now at 27 she is floundering and being forced to learn a lot of things she’s never had to face before. IT’s sad!
Exactly! It’s such a disservice to the child to not learn these skills! I’d much rather raise a confident, able child than one who is unsure of even how to make breakfast. Thank you for your comment! 🙂
Lyne A says
This is so good! I have 2 little girls and I want to equipped them with everything they need to thrive in life.
I was a very sheltered child, I did have some basic skills but lacking gravely in social and real world stuff.
I move to NY when I was 20 I was like a lost puppy, thank God He placed awesome church folks that help show me the way but a lot of things I wish i already knew.
I will be back for the series 🙂
Michelle Jones says
I agree, we need to teach our children all these skills. I am glad to see you put teaching them about church and worship first. That also has been a priority in our house too. My daughter is so eager to help me cook that sometimes I have to send her away because cooking is how I relieve my stress, and sometimes I just need to do it myself. Not always, but sometimes. My oldest I have to push at time to teach him to gain independence, and then he realizes it wasn’t as bad as he thought to learn something new to do for himself. I hope I am doing a good job in teaching these skills to my kids, it is unfortunate that schools don’t see this as priority anymore.
Diana B says
Great list. There are so many life skills that go overlooked now a days. My girls are still young but I’m trying to teach them these skills as we go along.
Brianna at Mending the Piggy Bank says
I completely agree that the vast majority of young people aren’t prepared for the responsibilities that come when leaving the nest. As a senior in high school (more years ago than I’m comfortable with these days) I had an open elective and decided to take a class for a semester called “Life After High School” and to this day, I can still recall many, many of the lessons we learned, many of which are ones that you’ll be highlighting in your series, more than I ever remember of AP English, AP Chemistry, etc. As a mom to two young boys, I certainly want to do everything I can to prepare them for the “real world” and despite their young ages, I will definitely be back to read your series as it progresses!
Raj @Pink Chai Style says
This is a really great post. I actually grew up in a home where those things weren’t taught and paid the price heavily later in life. I’ve thought a lot about teaching my kids about managing money and meal planning/cooking, but I haven’t really done anything about it, this post has got me motivated. I’m thinking I’ll start talking to them about money over spring break and then tackle food during the summer holidays. Thank you for sharing your experience.
That’s a great idea! 🙂 Money talk is as easy as going to the grocery store and teaching them that a coupon saves $.50 and now we can buy 2 extra bananas, etc. I just try to work it into regular conversation but sometimes I have to have a sticky note to remind myself on my grocery list! Good luck!
Your list is very good!! I am the oldest of 11 and I have never regretted any of the life skills I learned growing up!….I feel very sorry for my friends who missed out on the privilege!
Lydia @ Not Afraid of the Snow says
I love this post! I am expecting out first, and it is good for me to think about the fact that I need to be teaching these things to my child someday. There is so much more than just book knowledge.
How wonderful that you are taking the time to teach your kids life skills. It amazes me how many people don’t have common sense and the basic skills needed to survive. But I guess if no one teaches you, it makes things a lot harder.
I’ve been trying to teach my kids from the time they were little how to cook and bake and clean up after themselves. Sometimes it’s so easy to get upset and frustrated when they are helping me and they make messes and everything takes ten times as long. But I know that the together time and the time learning to do different skills is so worth it in the long run.
My oldest graduates high school in a few months and I’m freaking out wondering if I have taught her everything she needs to know. I know she has the basics and a trust in God, so I hope it’s enough. But I’m not sure as parents that we will ever feel ready for them to leave the nest. I guess that’s a lesson we need to teach ourselves.
Anastasia Carpenter says
Hi Jenny, that’s a great list! My own children are grown now and I can say they did learn most of these skills. They are both doing very well in their adult lives. I’m very proud of them. It is such a shame when children have not learned these skills and are unable to cook or balance a checkbook or any the skills needed to live an independent, successful life. Thanks for sharing!
Cherie @ In Cherie's Words says
I can honestly say that I was never taught any of the ten points you made here. Though, since my parents never taught me, I promised myself that I would teach my children everything I could. My two oldest are learning to cook, do more than the basic chores around the house, manage money, shop smart, etc. All because I don’t want them to grow up saying that I never taught them any of this, as I do about my parents. This is very important information for all parent. Thank you for sharing this!
As soon as I figure out how to use pinterest I’m going to pin this! This is SO important as a parent, to teach your children necessary life skills. I agree with your points and I like how you for example talk about the BALANCE between job, family etc. It is so important and hopefully we can do our best to teach by example.
Oh thank you!! Be careful, Pinterest is SO addictive! 🙂 It’s a guilty pleasure! Thank you for stopping!
This list is so accurate! We absolutely need to teach our children all of these life skills. I am definitely one of those kids who left the nest with only 50% of that list under my belt! Of course, we can lay the foundation on a lot of them, and children will make choices based on the morals we have been taught. For example – my parents really instilled spiritual health into my life and I spent most of my youth resisting it. But when I was on my own, I found comfort in becoming part of a spiritual community and later my personal relationship with God had become top priority – and even more meaningful because I didn’t do it just to please my parents.
I think all of these life skills you mentioned are all important in their own way. Even learning more about cars – I wish I had that under my belt, rather than figuring it out when I was stranded by myself in the middle of Los Angeles! Ha!
Great post – and definitely something I will be referring to for my own daughter!
Divachyk @Relaxed Thairapy says
I don’t have kids but all of the points are awesome. However, faith first in all things.
Training our children is one of the most daunting and rewarding tasks we have. As a momma, I am sometimes afraid I have not done enough to help the. Probably to the point of being overbearing with my need to ‘teach’ more than just having fun with my kiddos. I look forward to your series on life skills.
We incorporate most of those skills into our homeschooling days. Our current learning is geared around money and the boys have a spreadsheet where they keep track of their money (gifts from relatives, items they buy, extra chore earnings, etc) as the first step in getting access to their personal bank account.
Ashley S says
Wow! Such a great post. It really is so important to teach children all of the life skills that they will need. I remember learning some things the hard way when I moved away from my parents. My mom was a great mom, but there were so many times that she really should have had me help her with things so I could learn them, instead of just doing them and insisting that she didn’t need any help. I will definitely be remembering your post as my husband and I have children! Thank you so much for the reminder 🙂
Carol Z says
Very thoughtful post. I think regular chores are a great way to learn life skills and realize that you are part of a family.
I agree! I also think many chores can be made fun while learning them! 🙂
I am looking forward to your next posts! I have just started my motherhood journey and would love tips on how to make sure my child have not only a fun and great childhood but one that prepares them successfully for life!
My kids are still really young so we haven’t taught them a lot but we are always focusing on “To love and serve others and the community.” Managing money is a definite must that we will start soon because it wasn’t ever taught to me so I learned the hard way.
I so agree with you and can’t wait to see your upcoming posts. I have both a college age sister and a middle school daughter. My sister is definitely better off than many of her friends in life skills and I have been working on many of these with all my children.
What an important post! I try to teach my kids to listen to others, to respect other people. I do know that there are so many things I need to teach them and show them the way.
I don’t have any children but I do believe it’s very important to teach them to have a strong relationship with God. I think if religion was more prevalent in households today there might be less angry, aggressive, mean children.
Nida Sea says
Great post and tips! I’m a fan of your people learning how to cook. My mom was a busy person, so my grandpa taught me how to cook. I remember when I used to work at the local hospital pharmacy, I was talking about a summer pasta with shrimp my husband and I had one night. One of the younger girls piped up and said, “Wow, where do you buy that?!”
I looked at her confused, “You don’t buy it, you make it at home.”
She looked disappointed and shook her head, “Oh, no, I don’t cook. My parents didn’t so I don’t. It’s a waste of time.”
I was SHOCKED! How could you think cooking was a waste of time? It became even more obvious to me that many girls her age didn’t know how to cook, not even how to make scrambled eggs! My first cooked meal was sunny-side up eggs, and to this day I still make them for breakfast for myself at least once a week because it reminds me of my grandpa and everything else he taught me.
So yeah, teach those kiddos to cook. They will be so grateful for it. I know I am!
What an awesome Grandpa!! 🙂 I love hearing stories like yours! I have been in shock with the girls I’ve talked to that don’t have a clue how to cook either. Summer pasta with shrimp does sound delicious…my Grandpa wasn’t a good but he sure liked to eat good food! That is a memory that I have held dear! Thanks for the visit!
These are so good! I’m going to keep this filed…my children are still very small (5 and under), but I am trying to begin instilling things like this – so that down the road they’re prepared, just like you said. I was prepared for a few things before I left home, but not everything I needed. I particularly appreciated your emphasis on loving & having a relationship with Jesus, managing emotions, and being resilient. Those are the things I had to figure out myself after I left home – and it was so tough, I feel like I lost the first 5 years of my marriage because of all the “issues” that really shouldn’t have been issues. I make lists for myself all the time, in order to remember and categorize various important aspects of my life. Do you mind if I share this post on my blog / link to your blog?
Rebecca, that’d be great! Please just make sure you link back here so they can follow as we go through each one on Fridays. 🙂
Tanai Goldwire says
Even though my baby is only one we have started to say grace and nightly prayers. A relationship with God will be a crucial tool in his tool belt as he navigates this world. Also though we spend lots of constructive time together, he also knows how to play by himself. If you can enjoy your own company you will never chase a crowd or want for a friend.
I agree! Good job on working with your little guy! 🙂
Starla J says
I love this list. Thank you for sharing it.
Caroline @ Anchored In His Grace says
What a great idea for a series! It seems too many times our focus as parents turns to success in academics and/or sports. I needed this reminder today. Thanks! I’m pinning this 🙂
I loved this post. Although my mom taught me to clean, I think she taught me to wash . . . (at least over the phone when I was in college), I never learned much about cooking. I know I ate, but I think it was mostly food I bought or got from my aunt who lived near my college. I was pretty independent when I reached college and managed well but didn’t realize until now how many skills I had to develop on my own as I went along. I’d love to start teaching my toddler these skills NOW. Looking forward to following this series!
jen schreiner says
So true! Great Points. Nice job with your little guy