With so much for our children to learn in today’s high-tech world, it’s all too easy for them to miss out on practical life skills. A recent study by the online security company AVG Technologies found that while 58 percent of 3-5 year-olds in the U.S. can navigate a smartphone, fewer than one out of six (15 percent) could make their own breakfast. Research shows that kids who do chores grow into happier, healthier, far more successful adults, and the sooner parents start them on them, the better off they are. The skills that kids learn early will last most of their lives. You can start teaching these life skills now and put your kid on the path toward independence.
- Laundry: My 9-year-old actually enjoys loading the washing machine and understands sorting darks from lights, how much detergent to add, and what buttons to push. She has made a game of not letting the laundry baskets get too full which in turn makes it quicker to fold. She even understands which shirts must be hung to dry and not placed in the dryer.
- Cleaning Floors: Another household chore kids can easily catch onto is dusting or mopping the floor. Quick Shine makes the perfect quick clean solutions for small hands. Our lightweight mop kits with reusable microfiber mop pads are not only environmentally friendly but have swivel mop heads that maneuver under and around furniture. The Quick Shine Spray Mop Kit also includes a 16 oz. bottle of Quick Shine Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner ~ a pH-neutral cleaner safer for kids, pets, and our environment backed by EPA/Safer Choice. This cleaner does not contain Alcohol, Ammonia, Formaldehyde, or Parabens which can be extremely harmful to our health and are often found in other household products.
- Writing A Letter: Toddlers can dictate a letter to a family member (enhanced with drawings), attach the stamp, and drop it into a mailbox. Teach an older child how to address an envelope and the five parts of a letter: date, greeting (“Dear…”), body, closing (“Sincerely”), and signature. You can also have them help with holiday cards or find a pen pal.
- Preparing A Simple Meal: Invite your child to help make meals or bake a cake. Teach them how to use measuring cups and spoons. A creative way to spark their interest is by finding a video and following along or bringing out an old family recipe passed down to you to teach them. Around age 7 or 8, your kid can try toaster-oven faves like English-muffin pizza, or make a simple salad by ripping lettuce, dumping in croutons, and cutting up tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots. By age 10, kids can use the stove top with supervision for a grilled-cheese sandwich.
- Navigating: If you’ve ever gotten lost following a GPS’s turn-by-turn voice directions, you know why being able to read a map is essential (even if it’s one on your phone). These activities will build your child’s navigational skills.
- Hunt for treasure. Maps seem boring…until you use them to look for the hidden treasure of course. Hide toys in your yard and then draw a simple sketch to mark their location.
- Have her lead the way. Zoos, museums, and theme parks have colorful, easy-to-read maps. Ask your preschooler to track her path, and challenge an older kid to get you from point A to point B.
- Take up geocaching. Kids ages 5 and up love this outdoor treasure hunt game, which uses GPS tracking to find containers filled with trinkets.
- Treating A Wound: Teach your child from a young age not to freak out when they see blood. Giving them a game plan will distract them from the pain and come in handy when you’re not around to kiss his boo-boos: Apply pressure until the bleeding stops, rinse the cut with water, dab on some antibiotic ointment, then apply a bandage. Having a first aid kit in the house is crucial. You can also buy fun character band-aids to their liking.
- Cleaning The Bathroom: For sure, this is the worst chore for any age. There always seems to be more germs, hair, and smells in the bathroom, but someone has to clean it. Try a cleaner safe for little hands to spray and wipe. I like to mix some baking soda, vinegar, and a drop of Dawn in a spray bottle to clean multiple surfaces like mirrors, countertops, baseboards, and walls. You can even sprinkle baking soda and vinegar in the toilet and let them scrub away. Depending upon age, it is important to supervise and direct them as they clean. Make your own Antibacterial wipes for the little kids with water, vinegar, alcohol, and some essential oils. Pour liquid over some paper towels and voila! *Keep in a sealed container for best results.
- Comparison Shopping: Teaching kids to be smart consumers takes practice. Create a fun game next time you go shopping with your kids like the ones below:
- Let your kid pay sometimes. Give them an allowance, and then designate items they are responsible for purchasing. If you want to keep sweets out of the house, make them buy any sweets. That’s forced our kids to become savvy shoppers.
- Play the grocery game. At the supermarket, challenge your kid to find the least expensive brand of paper towels or milk.