The lazy days of summer will be here before you know it. There will be plenty of fun and laughter, but you can also use this opportunity to teach your child some useful life skills. Keeping the learning going throughout the summer will set your child up for success in the coming school year.
1. How to Give Back
Teaching children to be charitable and humble early in life will help them grow to be giving adults. There are many ways you can teach your child to give back:
Gather up old clothes and/or toys and donate them to a local charity or shelter.
Designate a family volunteer day, and volunteer your time to your preferred organization.
Give to a family in need.
Lend a hand to someone.
Giving back is a rewarding experience for both children and adults. It's never too early to start teaching your child to be charitable.
2. Time Management
Life is a game of time. As adults, we use schedules and to-do lists to manage nearly every hour of our day. While children should be given the freedom to be kids, it's also beneficial to teach them the art of time management.
To practice this skill, help your child create a schedule for the day. Include simple things, like brushing teeth, doing chores around the house and reading a bed-time story. The goal isn't to overwhelm your child, but rather to reward her for completing tasks on time.
Try to make the process as fun as possible. Use fun, colored paper and try to frame time management as a game. The more positive your child's perception of time management, the easier it will be for her to create and follow schedules in the future.
3. Cooking a Simple Meal
Cooking is an essential life skill – even though there are plenty of adults who have never cooked a single meal. Knowing how to cook makes you more self-reliant and also helps you appreciate the food you consume.
Most children take very well to the idea of cooking. Teach your child how to cook one (or two) simple meals this summer. Grilled cheese, meatballs, casseroles and pasta are just a few simple meal ideas that most kids can cook.
Remember to make the experience fun. Kids will also love the reward of getting to eat their creations.
4. For Older Kids – A Job Skill
Older children can also benefit from learning over the summer. Try teaching your child a job skill, or encouraging her to learn on her own.
It can be something as straightforward as mowing the lawn or as complex as SEO or web design. For kids with an entrepreneurial spirit, you might help your child learn the basics about business management.
It's never too early to teach kids about money management and budgeting. You can start by teaching your child about the importance of saving money and encouraging her to keep her money in a piggy bank.
If your child has something she wants to buy, help her create a simple budget that will allow her to save up and buy what she wants. That may mean having her do chores around the house in exchange for an allowance. There's a feeling of great satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment when you diligently save for something you want and finally obtain it.