In our early 30′s my husband went back to school. Â We packed up my dad’s conversion van and a U-haul trailer and headed to Oklahoma. Â 2 days later we arrived and moved on in. Â In our 3 years there, we made many close friends in the student body. Â We also drew closer to many of the faculty. Â There were many funny stories to be shared from both sides of the fence. Â Most of these centred around the experiences of those newly away from home. Â It dawned on me that as parents we can often do too much for our children. Â There were many who had never done their own chores, and there was even a true incident of someone who had tried washing the frying pan in the washing machine (no joke, and it wasn’t as a prank!) Â I grew up in a home, where as soon as we could stand on a stool we were given age appropriate tasks to complete. Â Wasn’t fun then, but sure came in handy when I moved out on my own. Â Here are some things every kid should learn how to do before leaving home.
Make the bed
This may seem like a “duh” thing, but you’d be surprised of how many have always had their mum make their bed for them. Â It is also common courtesy for any room-mate they may have. Â Just making your bed gives a fresh start to each new day and makes everything just look that much more neat.
Do the dishes
This is a must if they ever have a room-mate. Â Begin by having your child carry their own dish to the sink after meals. Â When they are old enough, have them stand on a stool and help wash dishes to the best of their ability. Â This may be helping to load the dishwasher, to drying a plastic storage container, to helping put the cutlery away.
Do the laundry
Unless you want your guys going around in pink tie-died dress shirts, each child should know how to do the laundry. Â Teach them how to sort colours when they are very young. Â Then teach them how to fold a garment. Â Finally, around 12-years-old or so you can show them how to work the washing machine and dryer for themselves.
Cook basic meals
In early teen years, your child is old enough to plan and prepare a meal for the family. Â Let them pick the menu and execute it for themselves. Â Of course this means that in the earlier years you should also be including them on the meal preparation that you do. Â Teach them how to boil, sautee, bake, etc. Â It sure beat mac ‘n cheese in the dorm!
Buy their own clothes
When your child is old enough to hold down a part-time job, have them spend some of their earnings on their clothes and other luxury items. Â Continue to purchase the necessity pieces for them, but have them contribute as well. Â Teach them how to save from each week’s earnings and help them set financial goals
If your child is no longer in school, but they are living under your roof, make sure to charge them rent. Â It doesn’t have to be much. Â Even $25 a month is enough to teach them to meet their responsibilities as they transition into adulthood.
Have them pay for their own automobile fuel and insurance
If they want to borrow your car, or if they have a car of their own, they should be contributing to the use of it. Â Work it out like a rental car agency. Â Have them pay for their portion of insurance (make sure they have it, even if it is not required in your state!), and have them bring the car back with at least as much fuel in the tank a when it was borrowed.
The bottom line
Humans are not just born into adulthood the day they turn 18. Â They don’t automatically sprout new brain synapses that allow them to think more rationally. Â They are still very much children who are learning as they go along from life experience to life experience. Â If you give them as much of a head start as you can, you will be doing them a great favour. Â They will be equipped with skills that many of their peers lack, and will be able to better adapt to the loopholes that greet them along the way.
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