Back-to-school and back to basics! We partnered with
Clorox® to show you the essential life skills you can teach your kids between school lessons.
As adults, we often gripe about the things we know now that we wish we had known early on in life. Things like properly balancing a checkbook or being a smart shopper aren't taught in school — but they should be. And now that you're a parent, you can pass along these basic, but important, life skills to your own kids.
With a new school year approaching, one in which you're likely to wear the hats of both parent and teacher, it's your chance to help your child develop practical life skills. Beyond teaching them what's in the textbook, you should feel empowered to supplement their curriculum with real-world, hands-on lessons that can help them thrive. The best part is, you can easily teach these skills at home — and have fun doing it!
Goal Setting and Time Management
Being able to define goals, begin tasks, and complete them within a specified time frame are all important life lessons that can be applied in and out of the classroom. Similar to how
creating a daily schedule can help your kids visualize staying on track, it's also helpful to teach them how making to-do lists can be a useful tool for articulating their goals, understanding the steps needed to achieve them, and effectively managing their time.
Obviously, starting a task can be daunting even for adults, so learning that
big goals often start with smaller tasks can reduce stress. For example, if your child wants to finish reading a book, you can break it down day by day and suggest reading chapters 1-3 on Day 1, chapters 4-6 on Day 2, and so on. And it doesn't have to be relegated to just academic goals — have fun with it, and apply the same principle to activities outside of school, like building a bird house or painting their bedroom.
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Personal hygiene and cleanliness are important skills to develop early on. You're probably already reminding your kids to brush their teeth, wash their hands, wear clean underwear, and clean up after themselves, but do they understand the reasoning? Explaining why these things matter — and leading by example — will help them maintain these habits in the long run.
You could show them how you organize and wipe down their workspace after school hours and how that
sets them up for peak focus and creativity the next day. Alternatively, you could also plan a fun activity, like a craft project or cooking session, and afterwards, show them how you wash and tidy up. They can help put tools away while you use Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes to kill 99.9 percent of germs that live on surfaces when used as directed.
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Basic First Aid
You might not like to think it, but there will come a time when your child will get injured and you're not around. Because of this, it's crucial that they know how to help themselves. Show them the essentials in a first aid kit, including what each item is and when and how to use it, and demonstrate how to properly dress a wound, including how to apply pressure to stop bleeding, wash a cut with soap and water, administer antibiotic ointment, and apply a bandage. To make the prospect of having to treat a wound less daunting, you could demonstrate on a stuffed animal or doll. Knowing exactly what to do will also help your child keep calm in an emergency and proceed to next steps with confidence.
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Sure, your child can navigate a smartphone, but can they prepare themselves breakfast? Teaching them kitchen basics, like washing fruits and vegetables, assembling a sandwich, gathering and measuring ingredients, will go a long way; plus as they grow older, they won't need to rely on you as much in the kitchen. To start, you can have them help you collect ingredients in the right amounts as you cook a meal. As they get more comfortable, you can have them take ownership over bigger tasks like tossing a salad, defrosting an item, or cracking and whisking the eggs.
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Money management and budgeting are arguably some of the most important life lessons you can teach your child. Even adults have trouble being financially respons
ible — all the more reason to start them young! If your child doesn't already have an allowance, you can have them earn money by doing chores around the house. Then, with their money, teach them how they can assign each dollar a purpose, whether that's going toward buying something expensive like clothing or toys, casual spending money they can use to buy smaller things like books or snacks, or saving for the future. Bucketing money in this way can help teach them how to work toward short- and long-term goals.
You could also show your child how
you spend your money. For example, at the grocery store, you can show them how you decide what items to save or splurge on. Now, they'll understand the value of money and how much (or little) it can get you.
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Geography may be a school subject, but that doesn't necessarily mean your child will know how to read a map. It's up to you to teach them — even if the map is on your phone. You could start with a hands-on activity, like a treasure hunt. Draw a map of your house or backyard, and mark the treasure spot. Then, have your child use the map to navigate to the desired location. From there, you can transition the exercise outside the home; have them help you navigate to the park or grocery store.
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