Seven life skills to teach your kids if you're burned out on home school

Home schooling is a valuable tool, but basic life skills can't be found in a book. Take time to teach your kids these hands on skills.

Teaching requires a certain level of patience, a whole lot of empathy, and plenty of training. These are thing not all parents have, which is why homeschooling during the coronavirus lockdowns amidst a stay-at-home order has been a struggle for so many of us. While teachers continue to move mountains to try to bring some semblance of normalcy into their students’ routines, they do understand that parents can only do so much.

Parents are encouraged to do what they can. That’s why many who are struggling to solve math equations with their children are keeping their kids busy with learning life skills instead.

According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Roehampton in the UK, life skills are defined as transferable skills that enable individuals to deal with everyday life, and to progress and succeed in school, work, and societal life. These skills allow children to gain work and personal growth to eventually become self-empowered active citizens in the future.

The 12 core life skills—creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, cooperation, negotiation, decision making, self-management, resilience, communication, respect for diversity, empathy, and participation—can be taught by parents at home, according to the study.

Even simple and seemingly mundane tasks and chores at home allow children to learn valuable life skills that will help prepare them for life outside. It teaches them to be independent and self-reliant. And if you are struggling to teach complex math equations at home, here are a few chores and activities you can teach your children instead that will help them develop their character and prepare them for adult life in the future.

1. Bake Bread

Baking offers so many wonderful benefits, especially for little children. Baking tasks such as sifting flour helps little kids develop hand-eye coordination, rolling dough and shaping it helps exercise the muscles in their fingers and hands thereby allowing them to be better at other tasks like writing.

Baking also helps improve a child’s mental focus and concentration as they try their best to mix and pour ingredients into the bowls. It’s a fun sensory experience as they touch and feel textures, smell the baked bread, and taste their creations. It’s also a nice skill to develop in case they go on lockdown in the future and they are forced to produce something edible out of ingredients left in the pantry.

2. Cook A Simple Meal

Cooking is an essential life skill children should learn early on, or at least before they move out of their parents’ home. This way they won’t have to rely on others to prepare their meals, won't spend all their cash on takeout, and you’ll know that when they are out of the house they can at the very least, feed themselves to survive.

It’s also a fun way to teach them concepts like evaporation, states of matter, or units of measurements. But more importantly, cooking teaches them to put together different ingredients to make something to eat. This will also make them realize that meals don’t magically appear in restaurants and in their parents’ kitchen.

3. Grow Something Edible

Knowing how to grow your own food should come in handy during a crisis like this, sadly not everyone knows how to keep a plant alive nevermind how to start a vegetable garden. If there’s one important thing we’ve learned throughout this lockdown is that farmers are very valuable for everyone’s survival.

Teaching kids to plant seedlings or care for other living plants will be a valuable skill in case they want to start their own vegetable garden that could be their steady supply of food in the future.

4. Budgeting

You wouldn’t want your kids to be neck-deep in debt and depend on you financially in the future because they can’t keep their finances in order. Budgeting is a valuable lifeskill you can teach your children early on, way before they move out of the house, earn their own money, and max out their cards.

By introducing basic budgeting concepts, allowing them to allocate resources, and see how money goes to bills they’ll learn that money really doesn’t grow on trees and mommy’s not making that up. There are apps for budgeting you can download on your phone and let your kids use.

5. Basic Sewing

What happens when you lose a button during a lockdown? When all alteration shops are closed? Sewing is a good lifeskill to teach kids. It’s something they can carry with them as they become adults and will help solve even minor clothing problems so they won’t have to depend on others all the time.

You can teach them how to do basic stitches, or if you too don’t know how to sew now is the best time too  to learn with them. There are lots of tutorials online you and your kids can follow. Not only will it help your family become self-reliant, but sewing also develops your child’s hand-eye coordination, creativity,  and dexterity.

6. Basic First Aid

This is an important life skill that could potentially save someone’s life, or maybe allow your children to keep others away from harm in case of an emergency. Of course you’ll have to keep it simple if you have small kids. Things like applying gentle pressure to a bleeding wound, or applying cold running water to a minor burn and calling 911 are simple skills you’ll need to teach even young children.

You can teach them other safety precautions too, like keeping themselves and their younger siblings away from choking hazards and poisonous chemicals or doing ‘stop, drop, and roll’ in case their clothes catch fire.

7. Basic House Keeping

Of course you want to raise adults who can keep their place habitable according to human standards. You wouldn’t want to have to visit their apartment in the future just to clean up. They need to learn to pick up after themselves as early as possible and learn to help out around the house.

Children as young as three years old can be given chores like organizing toys and books, folding their clothes, and even wiping surfaces. Chores make them feel valued, it makes them feel important when you trust them with something and makes them feel like they’re an important part of the team.