As parents, we want to protect our kids while giving them the best childhood we can. While it’s okay to spoil our kids sometimes (we all do it…) over-parenting can actually be detrimental for them later in life.
Before going into high school, your children should have the necessary life skills to fend for themselves. Too often, over-parenting leaves children unprepared for the real world. You can start teaching many of these skills at a young age!
These are some of the skills your children should have before entering high school:
- Budgeting: This is a skill that will last them the rest of their lives. When your kids are young, teach them how to save their allowance by splitting items they want to buy into a “want” or “need” category. As they get older, make sure your kids know how to track bank accounts and how interest works. You can also set up a debit card and help them track their monthly expenses, so they learn how to budget themselves. It’s also important to teach them to beware of scams.
- Make a meal: This means more than just pouring a bowl of cereal or microwaving a meal, though these are good places to start! You want them to be able to feed themselves a healthy, nutritious meal. Teach them the basics, like making a sandwich, cooking eggs or pasta, then gradually add in different techniques.
- Handling emergencies: This covers car accidents, trips to the emergency room or even getting lost while driving alone. Make sure they understand what insurance information they’ll need to provide. Run through the steps you would take if you were in the same situation.
- Wake themselves up on time: By high school, your kids should be setting their alarm clocks and getting ready on their own. If they know they can always count on you to wake them up, they won’t learn how to manage their time effectively. You can’t supervise them in college or when they enter the working force.
- Do laundry: It’s surprising how many kids get to college and have never washed their own clothes before. Make sure to teach them the basics, like which cycles to use and how to separate their clothing. It’s also important to teach them how to handle stains and which clothes need to be hand washed.
- Hold a conversation: This may seem like a skill you learn early on in life, but many kids don’t know how to have a conversation with an authority figure and advocate for themselves. You should teach them how to be polite, shake hands and hold eye contact. They should also learn how to talk on the phone, not just through texting.
- Go grocery shopping: You may have brought your children to the grocery store with you, but do they really know how to read the aisle signs and find different items? This is a skill they’ll need in college and when they move out of the house. Next time you bring them shopping with you, give them a small list of items in different places in the store.
- Take public transportation: You never know if your children will end up in a city or small town, but teaching them how to take public transportation is an invaluable life skill that’ll instill independence. When they’re younger, they should also learn how to read a map (not just a GPS!)
What other skills do you think children need to have, or something you wish you knew how to do when you were younger? Let us know in the comments!