Numerous parents today tend to be on the opposite ends of a long continuum when it comes to raising children. Some parents tend towards allowing their children plenty of leeway and little responsibility, believing that childhood should a time for endless fun experiences. Other parents believe in teaching numerous responsibilities from a young age, letting children take over much of the housework, cooking and lawn maintenance. However, your goal as a responsible yet loving parent should be to allow your children to be children while setting them up with several life skills that they can take with them through the rest of their lives. Ensure that you teach these skills to your children beginning in the preschool years and build on the concepts through the teen years.
Use Good Manners
Good manners can start from early toddlerhood when you teach your young child how to say please and thank you. You can expand on this in the preschool years by teaching your child how to share and how to give up his or her own things for the good of someone else. In elementary school, teach your child how to open doors for others, let someone else go first and address those in authority by their proper titles. The teen years provide numerous times when you can teach proper etiquette in writing, at the table and away from home. By modeling good manners yourself, you are providing the very best teaching. Children who model good manners will find themselves more readily accepted in jobs and social experiences later in life.
Manage Time Well
Children who know how to manage their time will most likely be successful in school and in their jobs later in life. They will more readily accept a challenge and will know how to organize their tasks into manageable groups. Young children can learn to do their homework or chores before they get to do something fun, and teenagers can learn how to hold down a part-time job while still having time for homework, friends and extracurricular activities. Not only can parents model this behavior themselves, but also they can teach children to follow a calendar, to start tasks early, not to take on too much and to do one task at a time.
Manage Money Well
Children who can manage their finances will grow into adults who are not saddled with debt or excessive spending habits. One of the best ways that parents can teach spending, saving and general budgeting is by giving children an allowance and keeping kids busy. Parents can have children of all ages set some money aside for savings, some for donating to a charitable cause and some for spending. In addition, teens should learn to stay busy and to earn money by taking on a part-time job. Savings can then be used later in life for college.
If you teach your children to keep an organized room, they will have an easier time in seeing when they have too many things. This can teach them to be less attached to items and more attached to people and memories. Teach your children to store their most precious belongings carefully, to save only some of their favorite mementos or pieces of artwork and to dispose of broken items. You can also provide organized spaces for storing toys and books, such as decorative baskets, bookshelves and clear bins for blocks and other toys.
Take Care of the Home
Being able to take care of the inside and outside of the home will help children grow up to be responsible, handy adults who will be able to take care of a family and themselves. Children of both genders can learn basic cooking skills even in elementary school and can help with meal planning and grocery shopping. Other basic household tasks to teach your children include lawn care, basic car care, laundry and house cleaning. As your children get into their teenage years, their lists of responsibilities can grow along with their confidence levels in these tasks. Be sure that you teach the importance of having a good attitude while performing housework.
If you are busy with toddlers right now, you may think that you have plenty of time to teach these important skills and that you can put them off until another year. However, if you are a parent who has already had one or more children leave home, you know how quickly those years pass. Be sure to start at whatever stage you are currently in to build character qualities and skills in your children that you want to see them take to college, marriage and their own families someday.