A list of skills children should have before they leave your house!
We all hear about how many millennials lack practical life skills, some have even taken “adulting” classes. While this is somewhat amusing, it is ultimately sad. The New York Post has laid blame at their parents, which isn’t entirely wrong. While these adulting classes are sad, it is good to see that some millennials are trying to correct the issue by taking these classes.
Here I am going to layout practical life skills I think are fundamental to have and some, at the end, that I think are good to have.
Let’s start off with the basics!
It is something that sounds easy to some of us but this is a skill that is becoming lost on millennials and younger generations. At a time when fast food and eating at restaurants is the norm, cooking for oneself has been slowly disappearing. I don’t mean cooking as in microwaved mac and cheese and Ramen noodles. I mean actually cooking a meal. It is a skill that is rather important to save money and eat healthily. Here is a quick beginner guide on how to cook! To get your child started, get them in the kitchen with you to help out. I don’t mean let them play with the knives or stove top but let them crack an egg or two, help mix batter, pour flour in for your recipe. Get them in their to start helping so you can get them interested in not only making the food but eating the food you make!
How to wash laundry.
It is the bane of the house wife’s existence, and a child’s if they had chores growing up. Nobody wants to do it, nobody wants to fold it, yet, it must be done otherwise your clothes just smell bad. It is washing clothes. Whether it is separating the laundry into colors and lights, darks and whites or hot or cold water. This is a skill that is pretty essential to being an adult, nobody wants to be the smelly person at school nor the office when they get older. Here is a Video how to on how to wash clothes, although you won’t need it if you just let your little ones help you with it. It will take a little bit longer, and probably won’t go as smoothly but it is a valuable skill to have.
Well, now that the laundry is done it needs to be folded and put away. This is another skill that is beginning to go the way of the dodo. It seems as though many children and even parents leave the clothes in a hamper or throw them on the floor when they are clean…. and when they are dirty. It is a good thing to have your clothes folded, or hung and put away so one has a room or home that is clean and does not have clothes strewn everywhere. Don’t let that little tykes size fool you, they can put clothes on hangers and even put clothes up if you show them how and offer a little assistance. It also helps the children with the dexterity in their hands working on those fine and gross motor skills.
Here is something that has slowly been replaced by technology. Many houses and apartments have a dish washing machine so much of the elbow grease, if not all have been taken out of the equation. That isn’t a bad thing… till it is. I have on more than one occasion needed to wash dishes by hand, this doesn’t include my entire childhood either. Whether the dishwasher was broken, didn’t clean dishes completely, or didn’t have one, having that skill gave me the ability to have clean dishes. Kids, young and old, should have no issues washing dishes. It really is a simple task to do.
Clean the house.
Some of the aforementioned skills could be lumped in here as well but this is a big one already. Cleaning the house. It needs to be done and as an adult, your children should know how to do it. I mean, your not going to be there to do it for them, nor should you. For children, this can be started fairly early in life. Give them some chores, have them sweep up the kitchen floor, wipe the counters or tables down, vacuum. There are any number of things children can do if we let them. Show your kids how to clean, use a broom, vacuum, make a bed or any number of house cleaning skills. These will serve your children in the future. Many parents come to the conclusion that children can’t handle these tasks, lest we forget children were working in coal mines at the age of six, they can handle a broom.
Along with cooking goes buying groceries. You really can’t cook if you don’t have food. While you can always garden, that will most likely not be the only place you get your food from. My mother used our shopping trips to have my brother and I work on budgeting, how to find unit prices on things to find the best deal, and made us do the math and calculate what the groceries were going to cost before we got to the register. Luckily we didn’t have to worry about working taxes into our calculations that young. We were homeschooled for awhile and those are some things that creative parents do, turn a grocery store trip into an educational moment. I didn’t actually learn to grocery shop till later in my teens but that foundation of knowing how much we needed versus what we could spend has served me well. This is one of those essential skills that can be a sub-category to another one that will be mentioned later on. Some suggestions like using a list, whether on your phone of on paper would work.
Ahhh, budgets. There is nothing that can do more for you and drive you crazier than this. It can be as simple as a pen and paper or you can get an app on your computer or phone. Either way, it is a good idea to have a budget. It is never fun to swipe your card and see insufficient funds where it should say approved. Along with budgeting, we should teach our children about credit and personal finance in general. This will give them a leg up on many adults as this is not a skill that is taught in school nor one usually taught at home. We have been working with our son with money, budgeting, and personal finance and he is only four. He has to earn the money he gets by completing certain Jobs that are not his choirs. When he earns that money he has three jars to put it in. Depending on how much he earns, he has to split it between the jars. One jar is for money he can spend, the second is his savings, the third is his giving. This third jar is money he gives to someone who needs it or a charity or to an organization. This is to help instill in him a sense of giving back. Surprisingly enough, we don’t have to force it, this is something he enjoys doing, plus I make sure Susie and I set the example for him. If you your child is computer savvy they could go the route of a budget on a computer with a spreadsheet or go with something like YNAB program or Money Dance
Write a check.
Writing a check, it is such a menial and mundane task yet it is a rather important one to be able to do. My father taught me by letting me practice writing his checks for him. I would write them out how he told me to and he would sign them. It was an easy and quick way to do it. Now along with that, your children should also know how to endorse a check, and when a check should be endorsed. I have been surprised by a number of people I have seen who do not know how to do that. Here is a little video how to write a check.
Pay Bills….On time
This is a skill you can start at any age the child has interaction with any money he has earned, either by chores or jobs elsewhere. Paying bills is one of those adult things that is essential to know how to do and it is one of those things that schools never teach and parents neglect it as well. This goes along with our budget discussion above. This is such an essential skill that even today’s adults struggle with.
Jump Start a Car.
This is pretty important I think. A lot of people don’t know how to do this or do it correctly. It is a simple skill that can save you a ton of money and a huge headache. If you stop to jump someone’s car and your child is with you, that is a perfect time to teach them how to jump a car. Explain to them what is happening and why the car needs to be jumped, and then show them how to do it. My son thought it was pretty neat when I explained it to him. Although he thought the car was going to actually jump when I explained it the first time.
Basic Car Maintenance.
This includes checking tire pressure, changing a tire, changing the oil, how to check the oil, where the washing fluid goes, where the anti-freeze goes and any other pertinent info that they might need to do their part in keeping that car moving on the highway. Here is a short video of some specific things for car maintenance.
Read a Map.
This goes along with the car idea. Being able to read a map in the age of GPS seems a little ancient to some. It is a good skill to have, especially if your GPS stops working or if it isn’t working right. Being able to read a map will get you where you need to go without that annoying voice coming from your phone. If your child is really adventurous you could turn this into reading topographical maps and learning land navigation. Admittedly, that isn’t everyone’s idea of fun.
Learn How To Sell.
I think this is an essential skill to have. I am an adult and I am still learning how to do this. A friend of mine told me the other day “If your kid can sell, he will always have a job”. I believe it is true. Being able to sell things comes in handy every day. Not only to just sell product but to sell their ideas, themselves in job interviews. They can use this skill to help create a business or to sell enough to have enough capital to create the business that they want. I honestly don’t have enough know how myself to give any pointers but I have attached 3 links below to help you give your children the skill of selling. The one I am looking forward to is Junior Money Makers and I am pretty excited about it. It is a new podcast and it is going to highlight kids, 18 and younger, who have created their own businesses. It is a wonderful idea and I look forward to the release date. I will keep you posted on it’s release date. The next on is the Art of Charm. This is a podcast/blog/class that highlights entrepreneurs, what they do, how they do it and more. These are skills children can learn and cultivate as they grow!
Learning on their own
This one should come natural to children. However, public schooling seems to kill this natural love of learning. Helping or guiding your children to build this skill should be one of the most important to help them learn. Once they have this skill, they can go on to learn what they want, when they want. This is the skill I have been most thankful for. I have been able to learn many of the things I know on my own time outside of “schools”. This has been a tremendous and wonderful gift my parents have given me. How do we teach children this skill? We simply must not crush their spirit when it comes to learning as well as showing them where or how to find what they need to learn. Libraries, Youtube, Google, trial and error, themselves, older adults and even you. These are all resources that they can use to help them learn on their own. You can visit my free courses page, it has a huge list of places you child can go to learn, or you if you would like. You can also learn Austrian Economics here. Plus a massive list of resources for homeschoolers here.
How to pay taxes
Paying taxes. The bane of many people’s existence and something nobody enjoys doing. This is essential to know how to do or at least essential to know someone who does. With the proliferation of online programs and businesses that prepare taxes, it may seem like it isn’t important but knowing the basics is important so you have some sort of understanding of how convoluted paying taxes really are. Here is a small article on taxation from the Mises Institute.
Basic First Aid
Whether you are in an urban environment or in the wilderness basic first aid can help save a life. Whether it is just CPR or you go further and learn more is up to you but it is a good idea to have at least the most basic first aid under your belt. From the Red Cross, here are the basics of first aid. Those of you who have children that love the outdoors can go even further with wilderness first aid courses. These are skills that can save a life and as a nurse, I am a bit biased and think that this is one of the more important skills one can learn.
What to look for in Car Insurance
What should you look for in car insurance? That is a somewhat subjective question since what will work for one, may not work for another. Also, different states have different requirements for those who wish to drive on the roads. Where should teens and young adults go to find the answers to what they need? Well, Edmunds has a good little resource. Triple-A is another good resources
How To Use a Computer
Using a computer is something that is essential in our modern world. Most jobs require the use of computers and it generally makes life a bit easier if you are proficient in using a computer. To aid in that here a few links. The BBC has some good guides and articles. Here are some basic Mac and Windows guides.
Time management skills are not only lacking in many teens but adults as well. Time management is something that is truly important to master not only for business but in personal life as well. This is one of those skills that get talked about often but not many practice nor try to master. Some good tips and tricks can be found at Mindtools. Dartmouth College has a great resource for managing time for not only students but everyone. Ted Talk even has a talk on it as well.
mind your manners, this is what my grandma would say as she rapped my knuckles with a wooden spoon as I reached across the table. Manners matter, this is often overlooked and people find it archaic but being polite and having manners is something worth instilling in your children. We have all had rude people in our lives that lacked manners and nobody like that so why not remedy that with your own children? The Art of Manliness has a good article on manners. Laurie Johnson has 8 good tips for both boys and girls. For those who don’t know, here is a video of what bad manners look like.
Learn How To Swim
Learning how to swim is one of those skills that can save your life. It is not just for enjoying a day at the pool or beach but can genuinely be a skill that can save you or a friend! Live Strong has a good article on learning how to swim and there is a decent video as well.
How to Listen Carefully
The more you listen and the less you talk, the more you will learn and the less you will miss.
Make a Good First Impression
A first impression truly sets the tone for most relationships. Yes, some can overcome a bad first impression but this is not the norm. It is best to have a good first impression. Fortunately, Mindtools put together a helpful guide.
Write a Resume
Most young adults will want to learn how to write a resume. This is their ticket to getting a job they may want. It is a good skill to have and may give you an edge over the competition. A good resume can set you apart so learning to write a resume can make a huge difference.
For others, it would be better to make a value proposition than a resume. Praxis has several great articles about this here. A value proposition can set you apart, especially if you don’t have experience. Read about it and see if it is for you and your kids.
Ramit Sethi has a good video on how to write a winning resume that is definitely worth a watch as well!
Address an Envelope
This is one of those skills that are going by the wayside because of email. However, some bills still get paid this way and it is absolutely wonderful to get a hand written letter from someone. Here is a quick video on how to address and envelope.If you have any that you think should have been on the list but didn’t make it, comment below and tell me. We love to hear from you!
If you have any that you think should have been on the list but didn’t make it, comment below and tell me. We love to hear from you! Make sure you share with your friends!