As with most children, mine would get upset and whine about doing "chores." What they might not have realized until they left home was I was trying to teach them some life skills that would later on become important. Here are a few things to teach your kids before they leave home:
1. Laundry. Ever have pink underwear when it was supposed to be white? Kids can begin early with helping to separate the bright colors from the whites from the darks. Have kids start looking at labels when they buy clothes to see if some items need to be dry cleaning, handwashed or hung up to dry instead of using the dryer.
2. Bank Account. It has shocked me throughout the years of raising kids that many have no idea how to balance a checkbook. Many banks offer free checking and savings accounts for kids as well as basic classes in that regard. Let kids learn how to use an ATM, how to save money and make deposits, and how to read bank statements. My children also needed to learn how to use a debit/credit card on-line. Show them how and where to enter the security code, the expiration date, and credit card number.
3. Cooking. Kids can begin with stirring items and work up to an entire meal with a main course and sides. My children tend to eat healthier when they can make their own meals. Pizza can get old after a while in college.
4. Table Manners. My mom and I used to have fun with this one. The use of utensils is usually pretty easy since you started from the outside and worked your way in but what about napkins, how to properly eat soup, passing food, and when to start eating? Miss Manners was a staple in our household. My dad used to always ask me, “What are you going to do when you have dinner with the President.” I would always reply that I was never having dinner with the President. Guess who I had dinner with when I was 23 years old? I certainly thanked my parents then as well as when I now have dinner meetings and formal dinners with clients.
5. Vehicle Maintenance. Once my kids get their permit, I make them start to put gas in the car. I also make sure they know how to check the oil (and know how important it is to get oil changes), where to refill their washer fluid, and possibly even how to change a flat tire.
6. Travel. Although I traveled all over the world with my kiddos, I realized that I had done all of the planning, the check-ins, and made sure we were able to get around. Let the children do their own check-in at the airport. They can also help in finding flights and pay for them.
7. Talking. My children would sometimes tell me about an issue with a teacher. I wasn’t in the class. If they had a problem with a teacher (for the most part) I would have them go discuss it themselves. Eventually when they are in college and/or working with a boss, they will probably have an issue they will need to discuss.
Do you have other things that you feel are important to teach before they leave home?