As a parent, you are constantly teaching your children new skills. While skills like riding a bike are certainly important, they’re not exactly the kind of thing that make a huge difference in life later on. Below, though, are three major skills that can have a huge impact on the trajectory of a child’s future.
More than three quarters of college students wish they had better financial literacy preparation. While schools might not always give students what they need, you can fill in most of the gaps as a parent. Help your children open a checking account and help them understand how credit works. Your kids should go into the world understanding how to budget and make smart financial choices. This is one skill set that will help them avoid the pitfalls that cause so many young people to struggle early on in their adulthood.
This is a good skill for you to demonstrate early on and hands-on. When you make some financial decisions, allow your kids to sit in on and even contribute to the process. They might be surprised by the thought that goes into something as mundane as planning a vacation or choosing where to go eat.
If you ask the average college freshman how to cook a meal, they will probably turn to the microwave. If you teach your child to cook, they will have an important skill to take into the adult world that is becoming less and less common. Adults who can cook for themselves not only have an impressive social skill, but they are also in a position to eat healthier and make better food choices. Taking some time to teach your kids how to cook even a few basic meals can help shape the rest of their lives.
Note that you don’t need to teach your child to be a chef to make sure they can cook. Just teach them how to look at food critically and how to make good choices. If your child can understand the different nutritional values of fruits and vegetables, meats, and other food groups, they will be able to put together healthy, balanced meals. Cooking at home is also much cheaper than going out!
One of the most important skills you can teach children is to take care of themselves. In most cases, this means teaching the importance of both emotional and physical health. Let your kids know how to express their feelings in a healthy manner and how to seek out help when they need it. Far too many adults find themselves unable to cope with life because they were never taught that it’s ok to talk about their emotions and ask for help.
Emotional well-being also has strong ties to physical health. Encourage your kids to find a method of exercise that they enjoy doing and help them do it. Whether it’s enrolling them in swimming lessons or saving up to get a new bike, your involvement will encourage these healthy endeavors. Also remember that, for both mental and physical health, your example will go a long way. If you keep yourself healthy, participate in their activities, and talk to them about your feelings, they can follow your lead.
All of the skills above are just as useful for adults as they are for children, but the earlier you learn them, the more you can reap the benefits. Whether you want to teach your child better emotional management, creating meals, or how to use a credit card effectively, they may just be thanking you when they are standing head and shoulders above the rank and file.