Why It's Important To Teach Kids Some Home Economic Skills
If there’s one thing I can not stand, it is seeing 20-something men and women who have no idea how to take care of themselves or their flat/home/apartment.
It seems it’s actually trendy for some millennials to still be taking laundry to their moms house to get washed or asking their parents to book them doctors appointments. And when takeaway food becomes a bit boring, they’ll pop round to their parents for a slap up meal, all fully cooked for them of course.
My brother is an example of this. He’s lived a pampered life where everything was done for him. As a result, he has no idea how to keep a bathroom clean or how to cook a fresh meal from scratch.
He’s now my dad’s full time carer, however the most he can do in regards of housework is push a hoover around the bungalow and cook a chicken in a multi-use pressure cooker.
I do not want my children leaving my house without at least some basic home economics skills. I for one, will absolutely not be washing my sons socks when he’s 20 and I definitely won’t be making doctors appointments for my daughter. Once they leave here, they’re on their own. So it’s important to me that I teach them now how to survive.
1. Washing. I’m pretty confident that my older children can fully work my washing machine and tumble dryer. What they still seem to have a problem with is actually getting their washing into a basket! So recently I’ve implemented the same rule that applies to my other half: if it’s not in the basket, it’s not getting washed. Simple. They soon learn when they’ve ran out of uniform and are getting detention for missing kit.
2. Cleaning up after themselves. I think it’s important for kids to know mom (or dad) won’t always be around to pick up their mess. So they have two choices a) be a slob and live in a dive b) pick up their shit and be a decent human being who is able to find their stuff when needed. My daughter is the biggest slob in our house (preteen, it comes with the age apparently) but she’s soon realising if she keeps her bloody room tidy they’ll be no need for the morning panic of finding missing homework. Or her phone charger.
3. Cleaning up after themselves part 2. Different ages require different rules, although I don’t make Charlie and Edward clean their room, I do make them put away any toys they’ve thrown out of the toy boxes. The same principle applies – they’ll remember where they’ve put their favourite toy car and it instills a sense of “mom won’t do everything” – make a mess, you clean it up.
4. Cooking. I see far too many 20-somethings still living off Bachelors super noodles or ordering dominos 6 days a week because they’re unable to cook. I’d hate to think of my grown up kids living like that so I do try to teach them to cook. The older two are now left to make their own packed lunch for school (although I do inspect it incase of too much chocolate contraband) and I’m confident Charlie could make himself a ham sandwich if I told him too. The older two can also put a cook-from-frozen meal (chips, chargrills & frozen peas) on for dinner. Now that they’re more confident with the cookers, I’ll also start teaching them how to cook from fresh.
5. Cooking part 2. Again, different ages, different rules. Charlie isn’t able to use a cooker yet however he does help to prepare most meals. Whether that’s just getting the correct ingredients from the fridge or counting how many carrots I slice. He’ll also put chopped up veg into pans and top up water. He can make a basic ham sandwich and butter some crackers.
6. Hygiene. Ok, you might wonder what this has to do with home economics but it’s actually important. I would feel a failure as a mother if my kids left home without the basic knowledge of how to run a bath or clean a loo. Sometimes (like right now) the convenience of a shower isn’t always available so running a bath is a must (unless they’re happy to stink like their uncle) – it requires judging temperatures, thinking about the cost of gas and water (do I really need a full bath?) being careful about wasting water and it also gives a sense of independence.
7. Getting Ready. I try to insist that my older two children get themselves ready for school with reasonable time to spare. This might include getting things prepared the night before such as their uniform or homework. It also means they have to judge how much time they have in a morning for all the essentials such as having breakfast, a wash, getting dressed and cleaning up after themselves. Ellie cottoned on to this pretty quick and realised getting up at 6:30am made her life much easier than getting up at 7am.
8. Housework. In our house, we’ve learned quickly that everyone should work together and pull their weight. We all live here so we must all contribute to it. Housework is mainly my forte however, I make the kids chip in where they can, whether that’s washing up, preparing dinner, taking laundry upstairs or just tidying up the toys in the garden. No matter how small their task, they know that they are helping. And that gives them a sense of pride, it also teaches them to respect the house in which they live and appreciate what they’ve got.
These are just a few examples of what I do to teach my kids some homelife skills, I like to think this is the right thing to do because I don’t want them turning into slobs, late arrivers or unable to cook a meal. I want to be safe in the knowledge that when they leave home they are prepared enough to run their own. And won’t be running back to me to wash their month old stinking socks!
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