Tuesday November 10, 2020
Anyone who said raising children was easy was lying to you. It’s definitely one of the most rewarding experiences anyone can have, but “easy” just doesn’t cut it.
Most of us have the instinct to protect our children and to keep them enveloped in that safe “mom cocoon” for as long as possible. But if we do that, we really aren’t doing them any favors.
Instead, it is important to help our children grow into independent, self-sufficient adults. To do this, there are life skills you must instill in your children early on. The good news is that these are also skills that you can work on right alongside them.
Here are three life skills you can work on as a family:
- Communication Skills — Think about the last time you went out to dinner at a family restaurant. If you looked around, I’m willing to bet there were a lot of families just sitting at the same table looking at their electronic devices. This is not a healthy way to build communication skills. Sit down and talk with your children. Model how to have a conversation. This isn’t just about speaking correctly or being witty and interesting. It’s about listening actively and giving social cues such as interest that your child needs to learn to pick up on.
- Money Management Skills — What really scares a lot of parents is that their child is going to grow up, graduate, fail at their job, and have to move back home. One way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is by teaching money management from an early age. Pay your child an allowance, not just because it’s the end of the week, but because they have actually done chores to earn it. Also, have your child save up their money if they want to buy something. This delayed gratification is an important concept to learn early on so that they don’t feel, as adults, they should have everything they want right away.
- Discipline and Self-Control — A third area that you really need to help your child with is how to be disciplined and focused when doing an activity or when just living your day-to-day life. One way to do this is to create a regular schedule for them. No, you don’t have to schedule every minute of every day like Sheldon’s bathroom schedule on The Big Bang Theory. But you can talk with your child every day about what the plan for the day is and what they can expect to happen. Also, encourage them to complete a daily “quiet activity” such as reading a book or putting together a puzzle by themselves so that they don’t feel like they have to be entertained every minute of the day and so they can learn to focus on one task for an extended time.
Teaching your child how to cope with the real world is just as important as helping them to learn how to read and write and do math problems. These are three essential skills that many adults might wish they had been taught when they were kids.