We all want to help our kids succeed, but there is a fine line between helping them succeed and doing it for them. When parents do too much for their child they help create a person who is helpless and entitled. This has created young adults today that are going out into the world completely unprepared. If you want your child to succeed as an adult, a roommate, a spouse or just a member of society these are skills they need to learn now.
Home Organization and Cleaning
1. How to Make a Bed and Do Laundry
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Every kid should know how to change sheets and properly make a bed. They need to understand how to neatly tuck the top sheet in with hospital corners. This will keep the top sheet from constantly pulling up and ending up in a ball. This will prevent them from remaking the bed all the time.
Need a great bed making tutorial? Check out this Wikihow post.
Besides the folding part of it, laundry is pretty easy these days compared to what it was like years ago. There are still a few tips and tricks every young adult should learn. They need to learn how to treat stains, how to separate clothes into lights and darks, and how to wash special items and delicates.
Here are several great books about keeping house
Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House
Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day
Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home
2. How to Cook and Bake
Unless your child will become an instant millionaire and can hire a private chef immediately after leaving home, they will need to learn how to cook. At the end of the day everyone needs to eat. If your child can’t cook, they will either eat constantly and blow their budget or eat too much junk food and blow their waistline. Boys and girls both should be able to handle themselves in a kitchen.
While not every kid needs to know how to make elaborate cakes and cookies, it doesn’t hurt for them to learn the baking basics. Baking will teach them about measurement as well as the difference between solids and liquids. It will also teach them how slight variations in recipes can make a big difference.
Here are some awesome books for the aspiring chef.
How to Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food–With 1,000 Photos
The Can’t Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified!
How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition): 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food
3. Basic Home Organization Strategies
While many people are born organizers, that is not true for everyone. Take the time when your children are young to teach them how to organize a drawer or organize papers in a binder. These skills will last them their whole lives. Check out these books for more ideas.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
The Complete Book of Home Organization
4. How to Handle Their Finances
The financial education of America’s youth is in bad shape. So many kids go away to college having no idea how to manage a simple checking account or credit cards. They quickly get into financial trouble that they have to spend years getting out of. Make it a priority to sit down with your kids and teach them about finance. If your finances are out of order, this would be a great time to get them in order. Be a role model to your kids and show them how to get out of debt and live on a budget. If you are not sure where to start, check out these great resources.
Make Your Kid A Money Genius (Even If You’re Not): A Parents’ Guide for Kids 3 to 23
Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money
5. How to Pay Attention to Prices and Use Coupons
If couponing were super easy there would not be tons of blogs dedicated to it and everyone would do it. The reality is that using coupons is a bit of an art form. No one needs to extreme coupon every day, but if you could learn to save a little more each time you run to store eventually it will add up. This is especially true if you are a young person starting out when every penny really does count.
It is also important that young adults understand how sales cycles work, when to stock up on grocery items and toiletries and how to decide which size package is the best value for their money. I’ve started helping my kids learn to do this and they are only 4 and 6 years old. This is a great way to bond with your child when shopping. You can ask them questions about the products and prices, show them how to make the best choice and when they are a little older give them money and challenge them to purchase your list within a budget.
Not sure how to coupon? Start with this great resource.
Extreme Couponing: Learn How to Be a Savvy Shopper and Save Money… One Coupon At a Time
6. How to Run Errands
This may seem like a silly category, but hang in there. If you learn to run errands efficiently, you will not only save gas in your car, but you will also save something even more precious. Your time. Teach your child how to batch errands into groups, plan when to go and group stops together based on location. This is a skill that will surely benefit them the rest of their adult life.
7. Scheduling, Setting Routines, Time Blocking and Goal Setting
I could probably write a whole post just on this one skill. Clearly it’s a huge topic as there are thousands of books written about it. The point is that the more efficient we are with our time and the use of it, the more freedom it will give us. Good time management gives you the ability to get ahead in your job, meet your goals and have the time to do the activities you love. You will be able to focus on your family, your health and enjoying life more. The younger your child develops this mindset, the better. These are some of my favorite time management books.
Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think
8. How to Process Paperwork and Maintain Records
I remember when we were all convinced that technology would make us a paperless society. I’m still waiting for that day to come, how about you? In the meantime, now more than ever young adults need to learn how to process papers, and maintain records and files. It does not take long before it becomes completely overwhelming. Overwhelm can turn into clutter and that can snowball into a whole big mess of problems, including missed payments, forgotten appointments and unimaginable stress. If you don’t know how to do this, learn with your child and get your papers in order. You will both be glad you did. I suggest sorting papers daily or weekly, but have a system.
You can get started by reading Simple Ways to Manage Daily Mail Clutter to learn how I manage this paper clutter creator.
Here are other resources that will help you with managing household records.
Basic Life Skills
9. How to Properly Use the Phone
The ability to speak to others on the phone well is kind of a lost art. When was the last time you called a friend instead of texting them? I bet you can’t remember? Our kids are growing up in a weird time, because they are completely connected, but also totally disconnected.
We have to spend more time when the opportunity arises to teach our kids how to use call others and answer the phone. We also need to teach them how to make calls to places they will do business with like doctors offices, health insurance companies, financial institutions and corporations. If we don’t teach this, they will never get the help they need, know how to correct a billing error or get good customer service.
10. How To Change Diapers and Take Care of a Baby
I’m so glad we have left the era where men refused to diaper babies and the chore fell on women. There is still inequality in this area though because girls generally babysit and help with younger children more.
I grew up in a large extended family so I learned early on how to change diapers. It is really not that hard, but all kids should learn how to do this skill. Especially if they plan to have a family of their own someday. At the very least it might be good birth control if your child does not like changing diapers. If you don’t have a friend or relative with a baby you can practice on, then buy a doll, but teach the skills.
These books are great for anyone who is having a baby or may have one someday.
Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, 10th edition
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