Friday, September 13, 2013

Why focus on life skills

Life Skills for Kids

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.

Kitchen Skills


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.

Your turn

What homemaking skills are you focusing on teaching now?


Joyful Learner said...

I wish I had more homemaking skills. I much rather read if I had free time but it's so good to get out of your head now and then.

K is on the verge of becoming a vegetarian so I'm teaching her to make dishes with lentils, quinoa and beans along with vegetables.

Erica MomandKiddo said...

Your new blog look is great! I've been a bit busy and haven't made the blog rounds lately. :) I really, really need to be better about teaching home skills. The kids do have chores, but they should have more!

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I am always impressed at everything you get done with your daughter as a full-time working mom.

So far chores have focused on cleaning windows, helping to clean the bathroom (tub and sink) and picking up toys, sometimes willingly and sometimes not. I want to start a structured chore system in California - here's hoping I succeed!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I'm really really bad at teaching homemaking. It's so much easier to clean up by myself. The only "chores" I require are making beds and putting folded laundry away. The children are pretty good about pitching in by carrying in groceries, or taking out the trash, or pouring milks...if I ask specifically - I'd like to work more with them on jumping in without being asked.

Jeanette Nyberg said...

I've been trying to get my daughter to do some dishes and definitely keep her room straightened. Usually I am so on autopilot that I forget to ask her to do things to help me!

Ticia said...

The kids are completely responsible for loading and unloading the dishwasher. I'm toying with them handwashing, but they freak out about the hot water (Mommy it's burning me!). They pick up other stuff when I tell them, but not willingly.

Oh, and they clean the bathrooms sometimes.

Occasionally they get paid for their chores.

Anna said...

Here's a book I need to check out! Thanks so much for sharing it.

Kelly said...

I love your new blog look!
I think teaching life skills is such an important part of raising our kids. I love them dearly and I'm still missing them while they're at school, but let's face it, I want the to all successfully move out of my house one day. They won't do that well if I don't teach them now. We also expect them to help out with family work without getting a reward.
Kelly at Little Wonders' Days