When the older millennials started becoming independent, they found themselves clueless about life. How do we file tax returns? What’s the difference between a savings and a checking account? How do we cook food without burning the house? Those were some of the most common questions millennials asked when they left the nest. And they faced ridicule from the older generations who have figured out their lives much earlier than millennials did.
But instead of ridicule, millennials should’ve received support and understanding from their older peers. When were they born, the world was experiencing a major cultural shift, in which productivity and long working hours became valued over time with family. As such, parents barely had time to sit down with their kids because they were busy working all day. Besides, it wasn’t their fault they didn’t know many basic life skills.
Schools didn’t teach millennials life skills either. Some countries, fortunately, had home economics or the like as part of their curriculum, but in the U.S., that subject isn’t common.
As a result, many millennials graduated from college with barely any real-world skills. This has affected the early stages of their careers, as they were often overwhelmed by the demands of the corporate world. Now that they have become parents themselves, this is millennials’ opportunity to fix the problem their parents could not address: the lack of knowledge about the real world.
That said, here are the most important real-world lessons you can teach kids at home:
1. Getting Ready
We normally help our kids get ready in the morning. We prepare the clothes they’d wear the night before, set up their alarms, wake them up, and practically do everything for them. While helping your kids isn’t wrong, you should let go at a certain point, such as when they reach a certain age.
When they can already tie their shoelaces, let them do it. It can be frustrating sometimes if they’re too slow, but they won’t learn how to do it fast if you’ll always help them. So once they’re old enough to get ready with minimal supervision, give them a “getting ready checklist”, where every part of their routine is written or visualized for them to follow. Learning how to get ready at a young age prevents kids from not having a sense of order when they become independent.
2. Time Management
Some people may live well without a routine. Nobody would want to hire a manager who has a chaotic lifestyle, after all. But often, having a routine helps make an adult more efficient and reliable.
Establishing a routine starts with time management. If kids know how to measure time, they can finish their tasks within their schedule and avoid cramming. Teaching time management will make a kid feel restricted for a while, but they’re going to thank you in time. They’d definitely prefer to finish a project before the deadline than spend what could’ve been their term break catching up with school work.
3. Nature Appreciation
If kids see many litter on the street, people spitting on sidewalks, and loggers cutting down trees, they may develop a distorted idea of nature. They might think nature exists to serve them, not the other way around. Thankfully, the internet is now teeming with information about environmental topics, but if your kids don’t visit that part of the web, they won’t learn a thing about nature appreciation.
So whenever you can, take your kid on a nature trip and let them watch or read books about animals, plants, and other things they’d see outdoors. Make your home a safe place for wildlife, too; enlist a landscaping expert to transform your yard. If your kid sees that you care for nature, they will follow your example.
4. Working Smart vs. Working Hard
At school and home, working hard was a value that was drilled into us. We were taught to believe if we don’t work hard, we will not reach our dreams. But it turned out that instead of working hard, working smart is the key to realizing your dreams.
Working smart can help you in almost all situations. Are you buying a house? Hire a realtor instead of combing through properties and wasting your time, starting a business? Consult mentors and industry experts instead of selling a product without an idea of who your market is. While working hard isn’t wrong, it can sometimes only drain us. Contrary to traditional beliefs, it doesn’t necessarily result in higher productivity.
With these real-world lessons in your kids’ skill set, they will grow up with fewer fears about adulthood. They can mature earlier, making them more reliable and trustworthy teens. But even after your kid has learned these skills, don’t stop guiding them. They’re still going to make mistakes and experience failures, but with your guidance and support, they’d learn that setbacks are normal in life, not a sign of incompetence.