Whether you are an All-Year-Round homeschooler or whether you follow the traditional school calendar, summer is a time when most of us have a little bit more margin in our schedules. Many of the extracurricular activities our kids are involved in are done for the summer. And even those who continue doing lessons during this time of year quite often make them a bit less intense so that the kids can get outside and enjoy the weather.
This is also a wonderful time to spend working on something else which is extremely important but can tend to get pushed by the wayside during the busy school year. This summer, you might want to consider spending a little bit of your extra time teaching life skills to your kids.
Reading, writing, and arithmetic are all well and good. But if your 20-something son doesn’t know how to cook at least a few basic meals when he moves out, it won’t matter how many A’s he got in his classes. He’s going to be hungry. The same goes for knowing how to clean a house. Or how to handle basic landscaping tasks. Or how to change a flat tire. There’s more to life than book learning!
How to Get Started Teaching Life Skills
There are so many skills for our kids to learn that it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here is a method for teaching life skills which has worked for our family:
- Determine a focus. Decide what you want to focus on first. Choose either a specific room of the house, such as the bathrooms, or a type of activity which has lots of parts such as meal preparation. It’s always helpful if you can start with an area which interests your child!
- Determine the tasks. Next, decide which tasks you will teach each week. Try to be realistic. You won’t be able to teach your kids all of the various handyman skills in one week.
- Teach them how. Remember that your child wasn’t born with the knowledge of how to do these tasks. The first time, be sure to take the time to show them how to do it properly. The next time, allow them to do the task while you supervise. As they show that they are capable of handling things on their own, you can give them more independence. Just be sure to do occasional spot checks so that they aren’t tempted to breeze through the task quickly without doing a thorough job.
- Set a Deadline. One thing which we’ve found very helpful around here is to give kids a deadline for when you want each task to be completed. You may want to post this information somewhere in a central location, like the refrigerator, so that the kids know what you expect.
- Remember to express appreciation. Learning these life skills can be hard work! And we all like to be appreciated. If you thank your kids and give them recognition, they will be much more willing to pitch in the next time you want them to take on a new task.
- Reward a job well done. Some parents choose to give their kids an allowance. They take advantage of this opportunity to teach their kids about the proper use of money as well. Other parents reward their kids with extra privileges or with specific items they know their child will enjoy. Some families choose not to give any form of monetary reward at all. If that’s the case, I would suggest that you at least reward your child emotionally. Rewards are very motivating. I know that if most husbands weren’t given a salary, they wouldn’t continue going to work. You can get creative, however, and come up with rewards that don’t cost any money.
More to Life Than Book Learning
This summer, rather than simply allowing the kids to rattle around and get bored, you might want to consider spending some of that extra time teaching them life skills that will serve them well in the future. Once your kids master some of these skills, you’ll be amazed at how much work they’re able to handle and how much lighter your own load will become. Learn more by finding out how you can set up a Life Skills Boot Camp!
Are you planning on teaching life skills to your kids over the summer? Are they already responsible for chores around the house or is this an area you have yet to tackle? Please leave a comment below.