When it comes to school for our children, we have many options: homeschool, private school, public school, university model school . . . the list goes on. No matter what type of school you decide is right for your child, it’s important to remember that there is more to education than what the school can offer. Cue life skills.
Once a child turns 18 and heads off to college or gets a job, there are responsibilities he or she needs to know that are not taught in school. There are skills you need to teach so your child can become independent adults. And it all starts at home.
Teach your children to interact. This starts when your child is young. Most young children are shy around adults they don’t know, and that’s understandable. It’s important to teach your child how to acknowledge when spoken to, give a handshake, follow a conversation, and not be focused on an electronic device. These life skills are not taught quickly but over time. In a work/college environment, they will be expected to be able to handle themselves.
Teach your children to clean. This sounds simple enough, but you would be surprised at how many young adults don’t have this skill. Tell them how often to clean, how to clean, and what cleaners to use for each task.
Teach your children to do laundry. They need to know how to sort the clothes, run both the washer and dryer, and even how to iron. It’s a bonus if they can sew on a button or make a quick repair.
Teach your children to cook. I don’t mean just ramen and mac and cheese, but actually plan a meal, budget for it, and prepare it from scratch. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Being comfortable in the kitchen is a much healthier option versus frozen dinners and fast food.
Teach your children to make a phone call, create a resume, and fill out an application. Whether it’s a college or job application, this is something they will need to know. Practicing an interview and speaking confidently goes hand in hand with this. My youngest just got his first job. When he interviewed, he saw another teenager who had to keep calling his mom to get the answers he needed. That teenager didn’t get the job because the managers felt he was unprepared and immature.
Teach your children how to fill out medical forms and communicate with medical personnel. This is much easier and faster to do yourself, but there will come a day your child will need to do this. My youngest has some rare medical conditions, and I started teaching him this as a young teenager. It took some time for him to be confident with this, even with years of me trying both him and the doctor. I just fill In the gaps as needed.
Teach your children about money. They should know how to budget, to manage a bank account, to track the expenses, and to reconcile it each month as well as how credit works, how to apply for a loan, and how interest works.
School education can teach your child so much. However, to become an independent, confident adult, there are so many other life skills parents need to teach their children.
Take time to time talk it out with your kids and show them the basics. Education is not just taught in school.