I see the quote making its rounds on social media and it makes me laugh every time: “So it turns out being an adult is mostly just googling how to do stuff.” It’s funny because it’s true! I cannot count how many times I had to look things up just to figure out basic life skills. We call it #adutling, right? Time to adult today. Adulting is hard.
Of course, as parents, we want our kids to be more able to “adult” in the world without having to rely on google. We want them to be capable, confident grown ups who have an arsenal of skills and tools to help them more easily handle whatever life may throw at them. We want to be teaching kids life skills!
I’ll be honest though, as a mom who feels like such things have been a learning curve for myself, its a challenging area for me to teach!
Preparing Your Children for Real Life
Sometimes we focus so much attention on academics as we teach and train our children that we forget how important it is to be intentionally teaching kids life skills. We live in a culture where academic performance and achievement are equated with life success. While that is certainly and important part, it is not the whole of it by a long shot. Much more of our life is about daily routines, managing the bills, keeping house, interacting with others, and growing in character.
More and more, kids are leaving the home without a well-stocked toolkit of skills to help them succeed in these critical areas. They don’t know how to cook or clean, can’t balance a checkbook or grow a garden, and haven’t learned to change a tire. Some of them manage to skip out on learning basic hygiene or manners and it causes them problems as adults (I’m betting you know someone like that).
When We Feel Lacking in Life Skills
Yes, we want to equip our children with wonderful and helpful life skills! We are good moms like that. Here’s the rub: What if we feel a little inadequate in many of these areas ourselves? What if the domestic front has been a rather big learning curve for us? What if we use google more than we’d like to admit for things we feel like we should have already known?
That’s the boat I find myself in. Now, after 12 years of being a homemaker and running a household and homeschool with 6 children, I have learned a lot. But I’ll be the first to admit it’s been an uphill battle. Beyond the most basic of skills, I’m learning right along with my kids.
Dear fellow domestically challenged mom, I have great news for you! You don’t HAVE to know all the things in order to teach them to your kids! Not only are you not alone this situation, but it could actually be an advantage. Yes, we may not be coming into life skills training as equipped as Martha Stewart or Bob the Builder, but we have the opportunity to learn alongside our kids. You can be sure that those lessons will be even more memorable for your kids!
How to Start Teaching Kids Life Skills
Of course, there are some ways we can overcome some of the challenges, too. Here are some things I’ve learned.
Make it Fun
Create an eager learning environment in your home when it comes to mastering new skills together. Make it a fun experience to say “I don’t know how to do that! Let’s find out!” Enjoy teaching what you do know and learning alongside them on things you didn’t know. You can even put together simple incentives like stickers or rewards for new skills they learn.
Plan Life Skills Lessons
Whether your homeschooling or just want to be diligent in teaching life skills, putting a simple plan in place makes a big difference. Get a list of age- and developmentally- appropriate skills for each child and order them by priority and/or season.
Incorporate Regular Life Skills Training
Probably the biggest challenge for us busy parents is fitting life skills training in. I’m a big fan of having our children home with us to learn alongside us as we cook, clean, manage the home, etc. We definitely do a lot of that! But there are many life skills that don’t really happen in our daily life (changing a tire), I wouldn’t have even thought of teaching the kids (fixing a squeaky door), or where I feel like I need more learning myself. For those, I have to intentionally set time aside to teach my kids.
Life Skills Training in Our Home
As important as it is to me to equip my children well and teach them great life skills, finding the time and energy used to be very challenging for me until I landed on a few helpful habits and one fantastic tool.
Carve Out Time
What we did was set aside one day a week that we dedicated to all things home ec and life skills. We call it “home blessing day.” It’s the only day where the kids earn money by doing extra chores around the house, and it has become a fantastic opportunity to learn new life skills together and earn incentives as they master them. I love this approach because it delegates it to one day (this helps me not be overwhelmed by tackling it every day or randomly) and they’ve come to really anticipate it!
Skill Trek Life Skills Program
We discovered a tool that has made it SO easy for me to do it all without adding much more to my workload. I cannot even begin to tell you how much of a busy mom win it is for me! Our Skill Trek Complete Software membership provides a database of life skills for all the kids that I can tweak and sort, provides instructions and often videos to help them learn (and helps me teach) the skills, and allows them to earn “badges” when they master them!
How Skill Trek Works
Skill Trek comes available in an online subscription for our family to their Skill Trek Complete Software, which is the version we use, or as individual digital Skill Trek Express bundles that you can download.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- Great for ages 5-18 (although we adapt it for our younger kids)
- Works for any age or stage, including special needs
- Parents can add or remove active skills from a list of tasks
- Teaches mastery, not just a one-time task
- Dad likes to get involved in the life skills training!
- Allows assignment of “legacy skills” (skills from past levels they may not know)
- My kids love it! The fun characters and nuggets, the sense of accomplishment, plus the option of uploading photos, makes it one of their favorite activities!
Click here to find out more and see examples of the lessons.
Skill Trek Interview and Demo
These are recordings you can watch from the FB Live sessions we did – an interview with creators Andrew and Sara Elizabeth, and a demo of the software version! (Of course, the coupon codes and giveaways may now be over but the info is still useful!)