This week I have had my granddaughters here with me, so I have been busy with their homeschool days and keeping a balanced happy and even keel here at home. The topic that has been on my mind is what we teach our children in the way of life skills. Specifically, I have been thinking about the reasons why some kids thrive, but others whine, fight, or complain.
Why some kids thrive, teaching real life skills.
My daughter and I were discussing how important it is to get it right while the kids are young. It is a whole lot simpler to teach good habits and discipline to a child than it is to reign in or help a teen ager who has never learned self discipline or respect.
Truthfully, it starts with the adults in the situation.
First, teach manners. Manners are a good building block for kids.
In our own home, the grands never fail to make me laugh. But, they also require me to get serious and remind them to say yes ma’am and no ma’am, please, thank you, and I ‘m sorry. On the whole though their manners are great, and as long as we are consistent, they are respectful to us and kind to one another.
I also teach them to say “No thank you.” Kids that can choose things when they are younger have a better sense of self.
Secondly, adults should be respectful to get respect.
Speak to your spouse with respect especially in front of the children. They 100% learn what they live. Don’t belittle the kids, criticize them, or constantly yell at them. Calm yourself, take a breath. Tag team if you have to, but treat them as you want to be treated, like they have a brain. Give them space to laugh and talk. Make room for play.
Correct their truly bad behavior immediately.
Establish boundaries for the kids that make sense.
For example: Eat at the table, go to bed at a regular time, no scary movies, and no bullying anybody, including younger siblings. Consistent rules dispel chaos and establish a good parent-child relationship.
Teach life skills.
It is our job to teach kids the value of hard work and to have a good attitude. Give young people a healthy view of the world and their place in it. Teach them to not be a victim and choose their future. Help them find their passion.
Giving them life skills will help them more than anything an adult can buy them. If you are a giver, teach them to work for the things they want.
Teach them how to do laundry, wash dishes, run the vacuum, and clean a room.
Teach them to save money in an account, and to change a tire. Take them with you when you have to take care of something so they see what is involved.
Give them hygiene and clean clothes lessons. Don’t laugh, but teach them to make a bed and gasp, clean the toilet.
Finally, don’t be lazy. Enforce the rules and don’t give in to whining and manipulation. You will handicap them in the future if you do.
As parents and grandparents, it is up to us to make sure they get enough food and sleep, enough affection, enough play, and enough work and discipline. A healthy balance of the good times and good habits takes effort from everyone involved but creates great kids.
You and I are teachers. Life skills 101. For more on parenting and grandparenting click here.