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I believe effective parenting involves giving our kids high levels of responsibility!
We want to prepare them to become adults who take care of themselves and pitch in to help others in their community. Responsibility certainly involves them doing their share of chores, which I believe should be assigned from toddlerhood on.
And it certainly involves us teaching them life skills so that they will be fully prepared for life on their own.
The link at the end of this post contains a comprehensive list of life skills that other parents and I have collected over the years in my parenting classes. I doubt you’ll find many we missed!
How to use the Life Skills List:
- Use it as a checklist with each of your kids to see what skills may need to be taught year-by-year until they’re ready for college.
- Use it as a list of fun things to do on a daddy date or during time with mom.
- When they master a skill reward them for learning it and celebrate together this new step towards their independence!
Two quick stories before you click the link:
- When our kids were in elementary school and we would go on airplane trips, we would put them in charge of finding the gate, baggage claim, ground transportation, etc. It was like a scavenger hunt for them, and it taught them to recognize signage, read an airport map, pay attention, navigate confidently in the world of adults, notice when they took a wrong turn (yes, we let them!), redirect themselves, be a leader, etc. (I met a grown woman this week who never flies because she dreads getting lost in airports. In contrast, my girls could fly anywhere in the world with confidence!)
- Mastering these life skills could actually save their lives. When our oldest was working at a summer camp in upstate New York she posted this on my wall:
“Dad, remember that list of life skills you gave us?…um…prolly should have practiced ‘changing a flat tire’”.
- My heart sank! She got a flat on a deserted road and she had absolutely no clue what to do. My lack of teaching her this essential life skill might have put her life in jeopardy! She was vulnerable and therefore at the mercy of whomever might drive along that road. Fortunately, a nice elderly man came by and installed her spare tire, but this was a wake up call to me about the importance of properly preparing our kids before sending them off into the world!
Here’s the Life Skills List! http://tinyurl.com/LifeSkillsForKids
If you see any we missed, be sure to let me know!