So much of a child’s education takes place outside of the classroom, and parents can and should teach their children various life skills to set them up for success as they get older. Crème de la Crème put together this list of important skills you can teach your kids.
Cooking and Kitchen Skills
Cooking at home often translates to healthier meals, so when you teach kids how to navigate the kitchen you’re setting them up for a healthier diet when they’re older. Cooking at home also helps teach kids skills that go a long way for budgeting, as home-cooked meals are usually less expensive than eating out.
Invite your child to help you when you’re making a meal. Assign specific jobs, but try to keep your cool when they make mistakes (think: flour all over the floor). Getting the kids involved in the kitchen is about building a foundation for developing skills, not instant perfection. Remember, kitchen skills go far beyond just cooking. By letting kiddos organize groceries and set the table, you’re building other useful skills, too.
Here are some ideas for getting kids progressively involved in the kitchen as they learn and grow:
- Kids ages 2 to 3 years old can help set the table and clear their own plates. Preschoolers can also spoon yogurt into their bowl and add fruit that you’ve already cut and washed for an easy DIY meal.
- Kids ages 4 to 5 years old can practice cutting soft foods like bananas with plastic knives, and help by adding basic ingredients with adult supervision.
- Kids ages 5 to 6 can start putting together their own sandwiches and making smoothies, as long as you closely monitor using blenders and knives.
- Kids ages 6 to 7 can learn basic cooking techniques to do on their own, such as mixing, stirring, and cutting with dull knives, putting the groceries away, and washing the dishes.
- Kids ages 7 to 8 can try out easy tasks with the toaster oven, such as making English muffin pizza.
- Kids ages 10 and up can use the stovetop with supervision.
Home Cleaning and Organization
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We’ve all heard the stories of the kid who gets to college without having any idea about how to operate the washer and dryer. Teaching children how to do their laundry and take care of other household tasks gives them the skills they’ll need to live on their own in the future.
Some age-appropriate ways to teach kids about cleaning and organizing their living space include:
- Kids ages 2 to 3 years old can start by putting their own toys away after playtime.
- Kids ages 4 to 5 can perform simple chores and cleaning tasks such as dusting easy-to-reach surfaces, clearing the table after eating, feeding pets, putting away clean clothes, and bringing dirty laundry to the proper spot.
- Kids around age 6 can start with more involved laundry lessons. Walk kids through processes like measuring and adding detergent, choosing the settings, and turning the machine on. Pro-tip: Keep a step stool close to your machine if you have a top-loading washer.
- Kids ages 6 to 7 can start making their beds without assistance and using basic household cleaners safely.
- Kids ages 8 to 9 can use a broom and dustpan as well as take out the garbage.
Navigating the Wider World
If you’ve ever followed your phone’s GPS voice directions only to wind up totally lost, you know that knowing how to read a map still comes in handy even in today’s tech-savvy world! Of course, you might run into trouble convincing your kids who have grown up with screens and internet readily available of that fact.
So, make mastering essential navigation skills fun in age appropriate ways. For example:
- Kids 3 to 4 years old can hunt for treasure using a hand-drawn map. Hide toys or fun prizes around your house or yard, then draw a simple sketch and show your children how objects on your map correspond to their treasures.
- Preschool-aged kids can start using colorful, accessible maps that places like museums, theme parks, and zoos create. Plan a family outing, then let a preschooler track your path or put an older child in charge of navigating between two points.
- Kids ages 5 and older will love geocaching. This outdoor treasure hunt activity uses GPS tracking to lead participants on a hunt for containers with fun trinkets. You can find geocaching activities close to home to get kids excited about navigating.
Kids who grow up learning how to deal with money are better prepared for success as adults. Money skills go beyond just managing money, though of course that is essential. You can also give your children lifelong skills for handling debt and purchases responsibly while saving up for future goals.
You can start talking about money as soon as your kids start talking in general. Kids between the ages of 4 and 5 should start identifying money denominations and understanding the basic concept of using money to buy things. When kids get a bit older, you can let them manage their own money to deliver a hands-on education.
You can also help kids become smart consumers as you impart these money lessons. Explain things as you go, talking about prices and choices out loud. This can be as simple as going to the other gas station because you know gas costs less per gallon. You can also share things you’d like to buy but aren’t because that latest phone or cool pair of shoes isn’t in your budget.
Let your kid play with money and learn by doing. If you give your child an allowance, designate things that they’re responsible for buying (such as their own new toys). Doing so allows kids to manage money while gaining the experience of saving up for something they really want. You can also build money lessons into your everyday routine. For example, when you’re shopping for groceries, challenge your child to find the least expensive option for a given item.
That wraps up Crème de la Crème’s guide to essential life skills you can pass along to your kids, just by working some lessons into your day-to-day routine. How do you plan to integrate these life lessons into your daily interactions with your kids? Drop us a line and let us know!