In a world where Home Ec classes no longer exist, parents need to be more diligent about life lessons for their kids. I’m grateful that my parents taught me basic life skills to prepare me for life on my own and I fully intend to pass those same lessons to my kids. They might hate it now, it might make them feel odd, but, they will thank me eventually.
Think about it this way. How many of you remember kids in college who didn’t know how to do laundry? Sure, it’s a joke that you can just go out and buy a new pack of underwear when you run out, but is that practical when you’re struggling to make ends meet? I gave laundry lessons at least once a week in college and made money on the side hemming and sewing on buttons. I’m not complaining at all, but shouldn’t these people be able to do such simple tasks? My kids know these stories – among others – and they understand why I’ve made this list of life lessons to teach them before they move out of my house.
Basic Sewing Skills
This is crucial. I’ve made good money doing side jobs and hopefully my kids will be able to as well but for me, it’s important that they can do these things for themselves to save a little money and time. It’s all about the self-sufficiency, right? Granted, I may have taken things a little further than basic skills (Autumn made her Halloween costume this past year) but that’s on them and what my kiddos like to do.
- Hem Pants/Skirts – Granted, my kids are not likely going to need to hem much of anything with their height, but, you never know. In a world where every retailer uses different measurements, this is a handy skill to have.
- Sew on a Button – How many buttons have you lost? I teach my kids to hold onto all spare buttons and they can replace a button almost as fast as I can at this point.
- Sew Basic Items – I’m talking pillow cases and curtains – I’ve saved a lot of money sewing my own curtains and basic items. My kids also both know how to make PJ pants because, let’s be honest, they are easy and AWESOME!
Yep, I’m that mean, mean, mean mom who makes my kids do chores. No kidding. Sure, it helps me out around the house and that’s what they believe that’s the driving force behind my meanness. Let me tell you a secret, it’s not. I want them to be capable of operating on their own because it is GOING TO HAPPEN!
- Laundry – Do you want pink clothes? Where do gray yoga pants go – darks or lights? How much detergent do you use? What is fabric softener for? Laundry is more than just dumping clothes in a machine and pushing start.
- Dishes – Yes, there are miraculous things called dishwashers but not every place has them and, crazy thing, some items are NOT dishwasher safe.
- Lawn Care – Mowing the lawn, weeding, how to cultivate a garden and use things like compost. It’s more than good for the environment, it’s good for you.
- Garbage/Recycling – You’d be surprised how many people don’t know what to recycle and what not to. We practice Garbage-Recycle-Compost in this house because we believe in caring for our planet!
Managing a Household
From paying bills (yuck) to writing checks to simply mapping a course to your destination, my kids will know how to take care of the not-fun parts of living on your own. You’d be surprised how many people DON’T know how to do these things. Do you?
- Balance a checkbook – Most of this is automated and there are great tools to do it for you, but there will come a day when none of this is available for whatever reason and you should be prepared. More than that, what if you catch an error (I have!) wouldn’t you want that money back?
- Write a check – Some places still require paper checks, usually utility companies, but still. You’d better be able to write one out correctly.
- Address an envelope – I love mail, real mail, not bills. There will be a time when a good, old-fashioned paper letter will make somebody’s day. More than that, remember those paper checks? Sometimes that requires properly addressing an envelope!
- Use a map – In the age of GPS this seems silly but is it? There is something refreshing about using a paper map that you unfold and mark out using the letter and number keys. And, if your GPS fails or locks up, how are you going to get where you need to go?
Cook Simple Meals
I’m not just talking about boiling water here. I believe kids should know how to fend for themselves beyond cereal, ramen, and take out. Autumn and Maddox have no problems baking anything you throw at them, but, I want them to know more. How to hardboil an egg, make a kick-butt batch of mac ‘n’ cheese, and breakfast for that special someone someday. Autumn is looking to do a segment called Kid Kitchen Tutorials as she masters more dishes, but Maddox is just learning. He may never love the kitchen like his sister, but he will be skilled enough to feed himself before he moves out of my house and he’s accepted this!
By no means is this my comprehensive list. There’s also changing a tire, the truth about credit cards, and a hundred more little life lessons that can make or break you in the real world. What life lessons are you teaching your kids? Please, add to my list!