As adults, how many times have we said to ourselves “If only someone had taught me that early?” Things like how to incorporate healthy eating and fitness in everyday life to things like how to save money may seem like they come natural to some people, but the truth is, those were learned behaviors. They were taught habits that, later in life, served those people well and may have put them ahead of some others in some areas.
Today’s parents are seeing just how fast the world is moving as they try to raise their kids in this new era. If you have experienced moments when you felt like someone was running circles around you and you wished someone had taken the time to teach you skills like how to change a tire, how to cook, or how to open an LLC, it is a great idea to pay it forward and start giving your own kids a leg up.
While the list of things to teach your kids is actually endless, here are some practical things that most people associate only with adults that are actually a great idea to teach your kids early. It will give them an advantage above most other kids who don’t learn about this stuff until they’re already adults. Along with helping them learn all the basics in academia (math, literature, history, chemistry, etc,) give your kids a head start in the real world with a few of these small, practical lessons.
How to Save Money, Open a Bank Account & Even Invest
There are many adults who still haven’t mastered the saving your money part. This is an essential life skill that can make or break your experiences and your level of success later on. In many cultures, this type of teaching is an integral part of how parents interact with their kids. But in the mainstream, this isn’t as common. Take the time to explain to your children the value of money, what it can buy, how you make it and how you can implement smart practices to keep them in a good financial position.
To take it even a step further, teaching your kids about investing early on is a huge plus. Investing responsibly is a great way to make your money work for you instead of gaining a tiny interest at a snail’s pace in a low interest bearing bank account.
For families that are able to, a great way to do this is by starting your kids off with a small balance to begin investing with. Teach them about how the stock market and interests work. You can guide them as they do their research and as they watch the gains and sometimes losses. If you’re not totally an expert, this is also a great learning opportunity for you and a wonderful bonding opportunity for the both of you!
The Importance of Fitness
Again - this is a super important life skill that poses a serious challenge to even adults. Many full-grown men and women struggle with incorporating and prioritizing fitness and health. If you make physical activity a habit early on in a child’s life, they won’t have as many struggles trying to stay healthy later on. Along with fitness comes the conversations about nutrition and portion control as well as the biology of how our bodies break down food and convert it into energy. If they choose an extra curricular form of physical activity, like classes, they’ll also learn about coordination, dedication, commitment and the payoff of working hard. There are plenty of learning opportunities there.
Make this an exciting thing for them. Enroll your kids in things like swimming, dance, yoga, sports, horseback riding and more. Get them all set up and geared up with things like fun, printed activewear and colorful leggings. Create a whole lifestyle around moving and watch as your child grows to love staying fit and healthy!
It can be easy for kids to just zone out during car rides, blindly allowing themselves to be taken from point A to point B all the time. It’s important for them to understand how to orient themselves, recognize landmarks, read street signs and comprehend the layout of a city. Get them started with treasure hunts and maps at home; then, talk to them in the car, showing them common landmarks and having them call out road names. Show them a Google map and trace the most common routes you take. If you’re taking your kid somewhere, have them hold the GPS and have them tell you the directions as you go. This is also an important factor in safety; you never know when your child may need to know where he or she is to keep themselves safe.
Your child should be able to feed themselves as soon as possible. Just doing it for them all the time is a disservice. Starting them off early will allow them more time to develop and hopefully become more skilled cooks later on. They’ll for sure need to know how to cook when they’re on their own, but having your extra helping hands at home is also a huge plus for families with busy schedules! Have your kids participate in making meals, going grocery shopping and deciding on what the menu will be. Let them take ownership of meals at home and they will develop their own tastes, their own skills and cooking styles young!