The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them -Frank A. Clark
Parents do the best that they can. I find myself thinking about this often as I grow older and begin raising my own child. Almost daily I catch myself googling some random question about how to do a simple task. “How to clean the kitchen sink,” “How to properly load the dishwasher,” “what kind of medicine should I take?” or even something along the lines of “this so & so situation happened today, is this a normal reaction?”
Did these basic life skills fly over my head? Did my parents fail to teach them to me? How would I have survived in a time without the internet? (I know, roll your eyes and call me a millennial.) It’s so true though. We can’t help the time we grow up in.
I recently scrolled upon THIS article on my facebook feed. “Adulting classes teach millennials basic skills like sewing, cooking and changing a tire.” As always, I clicked the comment section and was shocked. Half of the comments where the older generation mocking and talking negativly about these kids for not know these things and the other half were young adults standing up for themselves because they can’t help it if they don’t know thing they were never taught.
Want to know the upside? We can change this and guarantee that our children are equipped with the skills they need to survive the real world with out us right there by their side.
Okay, here comes the fun part!
My 10 things you must teach your children to make life a little easier for them. I will even provide ways for you to learn these things. You may be surprised while reading this list of how many of these you don’t actually know how to do.
#1 Teach Them How to Wrap A Gift
This. All the way. I never realized I couldn’t do this well until I needed to do it well. I’ve brought so many embarrassingly wrapped gifts to birthday parties that I stopped wrapping all together for a while and bought gift bags! Unwrapping a gift is one of the best parts of getting a gift in my opinion. Turn to YouTube for help, there are so many wonderful tutorials. One of my favorites is this one where you’ll learn to use wrapping paper to make a gift bag. Perfect way to wrap odd shaped gifts!
#2 Teach Them How to Address a Letter
Be sure to also include in this category how to properly fill out the front of envelope. It seems like a common sense thing until you’re put on your spot to write, seal, and mail out a letter and you shamefully do not know how to do it. Luckily, my boss was an amazing woman! That may not always be the case. I’ve created some files here that you can use to see simple step by step ways to address an envelope and a professional letter!
#3 Teach them that they are not smart but instead hard workers.
Of course, you should tell your children they are smart. You shouldn’t simply focus on that. They are smart because they work hard. Smart children usually stay in the groove of making good grades and succeeding K-12. It’s that important mid term freshman year of college that gets them. They aren’t understanding any of the material and have so much anxiety over it and they call you to rant; you tell them “oh you’re so smart, you’ll be fine.”
They aren’t feeling very smart in that moment. Imagine if we changed the way we address that. Change “oh you’re so smart” to “you are such a hard worker, you can accomplish anything if you work hard enough, look how far you’ve came from your own hard work.” . Establish from a young age that being smart comes from working hard. It’s not something they are just lucky to be born with.
#4 Teach them that most people don’t think about you as much as you think they do.
If I would have know this a long time ago then I could have saved myself from SO many sleepless nights. That time they forgot their line in the school play or they tripped in the cafeteria. They feel like it’s the end of the world and that no one is ever going to forget it. Teach them that they will. People spend more time thinking about their own embarrassing moments then they do yours.
#5 Teach them to navigate their way around town.
My sister will probably not be happy about me putting this one in here at her expense. I’ll never forget the time she was driving me home for the first time after she got her learners permit, she looked at me and said “I don’t know which way to go to get home.” My mouth dropped, y’all. We have lived in this (not so huge) town our whole lives and you can’t get us home?! A few years later we were having a conversation about somethings location and I refereed to using the block numbers (if the address is 3102, look for the 31st block sign.) She’d never heard of them. She’d never even heard of mile markers! I promise she’s an intelligent girl but she’s grown up relying heavily on phones and technology to get her where she needs to go that these things never even occurred to her.
#6 Teach them how to pick out food items in the grocery store.
You can teach them to cook. You can teach them not to waste money on fast food. If you don’t teach how to pick out meats, deli meats, produce, what kind of prices to expect, etc they will leave the grocery store and go straight to that fast food line across the street. It is overwhelming. I still have to ask the lady behind the deli counter a thousand questions. I thought I knew how to pick out avocados but that’s something even I’m still working on!
You can find a pretty helpful graphic on picking out produce here.
#7 Teach them that humans are capable of great evil and great good.
They should not completely ignore the evil that people do but they should never forget about the good that people do. People are humans. They make mistakes, bad judgement calls, have really off days. This world would be a lonely place if we only focused on the bad that people do. For every bad thing someone does, I bet you could find at least one good thing that they have done. This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions but that they should be careful to judge too quickly. They never know what type of situation they can find themselves in some day.
#8 Teach them that different cultures do different things.
Oh boy, you do NOT want your precious little darling to be the next kid trending on social media for doing something offensive to a different culture than his. The saddest part is that half of the time these kids do these things because they really do not know any better. It’s the parents jobs to teach them. Not everyone goes about life the same way as the people that you grow up around. We are all so beautiful because we are all so different. Teach them to embrace that. My son is still a toddler but I’m starting early by reading a variety of books to him. Books in different languages, in different countries, difference religions, there are so many options.
Books are an awesome way to teach young children. Here are a few of my favorites. Click the book and it’ll bring you straight to amazon!
#9 Teach them to be mindful
To live in the present moment. Don’t you wish that was instilled in your from a young age? Anxiety and depression are rising in our society. Mindfulness can help with so many problems in children and adults. I’ve started reading mindfulness workbooks for myself and it’s doing wonder to my day to day life.
Here you will find a WONDERFUL article about why the practice of mindfulness is important for children.
Also, Amazon has some AMAZING games for kids. They help calm anxiety and teach mindfulness my two favorites are.
Teaching your child about feelings and coping is so important and can build lasting resilience that your children need!
#10 Look people in the eye when speaking and practice a firm handshake
I’m the queen of awkward. I know how difficult it is to look people in the eye when speaking. It was something I was never made to do which made it even more uncomfortable for me to start doing. Start young. When speaking with my son I’ll remind him to look at me or I’ll wait until he looks at me to have the conversation. It’s so respectful in the professional world. Good eye contact and nice firm handshake can seal many deals.
That’s a wrap.
I hope this list was helpful to you all. I know some people probably read some of these things and did a slight eye roll. If your parents taught you all of these things be thankful. I know that no matter what I can never fully prepare my child for the real world. He’s going to have to fail to learn. He’s going to go through tough times. My only goal is to set him up to always get back on the right path to success.
If you found this useful share my post! Positive things like this need to be spread like wildfire. Also, please comment any additional tips that come to your mind! You never know who might read it and gain something from be sure you that.
What is one thing that you want to make sure your children learn from you?