Why focus on life skills
Every month I try to read one parenting book. I was very interested to read Life Skills for Kids written by Christine M. Field. I accomplished my goal rather quickly since I mostly “skimmed the book” looking for practical advice and skipping “the bad parts” where Ms Fields doesn’t even bother to make a nod to other spiritual points of view and states that your children are lost unless they chose Jesus as their savior. I had to remind myself several times that I didn’t choose to read this book, because I share her ultra-conservative point of view, but because I share her conviction that raising children who live only in their head leaves them at a disadvantage when they are expected to function independently. I am a working Mom, and our time together is precious, but I am consciously trying to spend some of it teaching our 6 year old practical life skills. Here is how we do that.
Of course, our daughter has chores. I saw some very involved chore systems online, but we chose not to motivate our daughter with rewards for doing her chores, it’s simply our expectation of contribution to the household. Her chores are also not terribly overwhelming – straighten out her room (at least 2 times a week and after playdates), keep her work desk in order every day, set the table, swipe the kitchen and make breakfast on Saturdays.
Most kids love to do “real work”. Picky eaters, like my daughter, are also more likely to eat a meal when they helped prepare it. Right now we have “a cooking school with Mama” on Friday, where we are focusing on peeling and cutting, measuring, and using a hand mixer. I admit that I need to focus more on getting her to clean up after all this fun in the kitchen.
Taking Care of Clothes
I wish I could say that our daughter takes excellent care of her clothes and belongings, but this is not at all the case. Usually Ms Oblivious comes back from school covered in dirt, food stains and other stains of unknown origin. Of course, she has no explanation of them – they just “magically” appeared on her clothes. So she is learning preparing clothes for laundry, pretreating stains and getting laundry started. Next on the agenda is ironing, but, to be honest, we rarely iron our clothes. I also realized that her clothes have very few buttons, so we didn’t have a chance to practice button sewing yet.
What homemaking skills are you focusing on teaching now?