One of the most important things we can teach our children is life skills. It isn’t necessarily one thing but a collection of many things in one category. Life skills are all about living responsibly and independently. It means knowing how to do basic things for yourself. Some of these skills include homemaking, time management, money management, relationships (interacting with others), maintenance and repairs, and healthy habits.
Knowing what these skills are and teaching them to your children are two different things. Children lead by example. They watch their parents and follow in their footsteps. If a parent seems careless with money and acquires a lot of debt, the child may do the exact same thing as an adult. Maybe they won’t, but teaching them how to be responsible with money and other skills will give them a head start as an adult.
Repair and Maintenance
This can include anything from changing a tire on a vehicle to putting in a toilet in the bathroom. I have three boys and they are all learning these skills because my husband is a handyman (he loves working on things around the house and yard). He teaches them about vehicle maintenance and home maintenance. Being able to repair simple things such as a clogged sink or figure out why the car won’t start are important skills.
This category is near and dear to my heart. I am a homemaker and believe I was born for this job. Although I have all boys, they know (or will know) their way around the kitchen and home. Homemaking skills can include cooking, cleaning, and making your home feel safe. I love to cook and bake and always invite my boys into the kitchen to learn a new skill such as knife safety or measurements. I also have a cleaning schedule and the boys are included. They have “zones” they are in charge of. For instance, my oldest empties the dishwasher, my middle son feeds and waters the dog, and the youngest picks up the books and puts them away. Every person should know how to take care of a home and cook for themselves.
Relationships (Interacting with others)
This category is very important. Knowing how to be respectful of others and carry on intelligent conversations will carry them through life. Children will grow up to be adults one day with jobs and friends and a family of their own. They need to be able to communicate and interact with others in a way that is pleasing to God. Teaching children how to be a decent human being is hard sometimes. I try not to shelter my boys too much but they do see some pretty bad behavior (even at church). Lovingly leading them to know right from wrong and how to choose the right kind of friends has to be of utmost importance.
My next article will contain more about teaching life skills. Hope you check it out!
Also check out Rainbow Resource Center for more books and resources about teaching life skills.