When we think of parenting, several things immediately come to our minds. For example, the first things that comes to my mind are the nurturing and ensuring basic needs components of parenting. Without a doubt, there are many other elements of parenting including safety, guidance with social development, and giving our children stability. As our children get older, we begin to teach boundaries and give guidance with social interactions. We assist with education and character development. However, “real-world” readiness is an area that is often-times overlooked.
From the birth of our children, our goal as parents is to raise mature adults that become contributing members of society. To that end, our primary focus is typically having children that successfully reach high school graduation and then go to college. These are incredible goals for our children. However, that is not all of the preparation needed for living independently.
Skills for Real-World Readiness
Here are some other things you should do to make sure your kids will be ready for living in the “real-world”:
- Spend time teaching your child how to sort, wash, dry, iron, and fold laundry.
- Allow your child to assist you with simple home repairs/maintenance, such as changing air filters, doing simple toilet repairs, unclogging drains, and changing light bulbs.
- Teach your young adult how to make a doctor appointments. Do they know their medications and allergies? Are they confident filling out new patient paperwork? Do they know what type of insurance they have or what a copay is?
- Walk through what to do if their car breaks down when you are not available.
- Teach your teens how to manage money, log-on to their banking accounts, and pay bills online.
- Have your teenager assist with cooking and baking. They should know how to operate the stove-top and oven. Do they know how to turn it on and off? Do they know how to set the temperature and know it’s important to let the oven preheat?
If you remember to teach your children the above skills, then you will have young adults who are ready to live on their own. They’ll still need you, of course, but having children who can function independently of you will be a reflection of your success as parent just as much, or more, than any academic achievements they may have.