Think your kids have a good handle on life skills? There
are some basic skills we all need to have—even in the era of digital
everything. But somewhere between changing diapers and buying SAT prep books we
forgot to teach our growing kids a few of these basics. Check out our list and
see which skills your kids might need a refresher course in.
Kids are great at texting, but most of
them are practically unable to manage a simple phone call. While they might not
need to call their BFF, making phone calls is still an important skill. Start
by having them call a friend or relative, then move up to calling a store to
ask what time they close. Make sure they know to dial 1 before the area code (if your carrier and state requires it).
2. Schedule an appointment
Sure, it's easier for Mom to
handle all the appointments since you have the family calendar. But scheduling
an appointment is an important skill that kids can start learning in middle
school. Does your son have braces? He can start scheduling his own after-school
appointments, either as he is leaving the office or calling back later on the
phone. Obviously you set the parameters, but it's an important skill.
3. Make a sandwich
Seems easy, right? Kids can start making
their own sandwiches pretty early, yet we as parents are often reluctant to
give them this responsibility. It's not rocket science, it's a sandwich.
4. Pay for something with cash
Yep, cash. Teach them to
count out the change, too.
5. Carry your own stuff
So many kids are still relying on
Mom and Dad to carry their things—whether on a vacation trip or just the
morning slog to school. Within reason most kids beyond the age of 8 or so
should be able to cart their backpacks or pull a small suitcase through the
6. Make a bed
He'll be the favorite overnight guest at Grandma's house.
I know, many adults never make their beds,
either. But it's good to know how to make one. Teach your kid how to make a bed
and he'll be the favorite overnight guest at Grandma's house.
7. Loading the dishwasher
Those dirty dishes don't wash
themselves. Teach them to load the dishwasher properly so that the parts can
move freely and the dishes get clean.
8. Empty the dishwasher
Those dishes don't just jump back
into the cabinet, either.
9. Return something to the store
I know most adults hate
returns, especially the day after Christmas. But standing in line, waiting your
turn and explaining why you are returning something is an important skill your kids
will use for the rest of their lives.
10. Ask for help in a store
Modeling this helps your kids, but you also need to let them take the reins.
Looking for a specific size or
color? Sometimes you have to ask for help. Modeling this helps your kids, but
you also need to let them take the reins.
11. Read a map
Sure, they all have Google Maps on their
phones. But reading an actual paper map—or a map on the Internet—is an
important skill. Start easy with the map at the zoo or amusement park, then
work up to a map of your town. Trust me, they need this.
12. Tie shoes
Thanks to Velcro shoes, many kids get to middle
school and beyond not knowing how to tie their shoes. Seriously people,
everyone needs to know how to tie their shoes.
13. Follow a recipe
Take-out is easier, that's for sure. But
learning how to follow a recipe opens up a whole new realm of snack and meal
choices for your kids. Knowing the difference between tablespoons and teaspoons
can make or break the dish.
Getting ready for vacation? Teach your
kid to pack his own things. Make a checklist if you need to, just to make sure
he gets more than one pair of underwear in there.
16. Fill out forms
Signing up for soccer? Applying for a
volunteer position? College applications? Let your kid fill out the form (with your guidance, of
course). Even in a digital world we still have to fill out the almighty form.