Life skills were at the top of the list when I asked parents what they were teaching their kids aside from academics.
I was blown away by all the fantastic ideas parents were sharing online about what they’re doing. And it didn’t stop with the kids! Adults were joining in with whatever spare time they had, to learn a new language or instrument (piano, ukulele, and guitar were all popular).
Cooking, dancing and doing crafts topped the list as well. Some were even adding to the family (with new pets!), finding it the perfect time to teach responsibility. Doing any of these activities with your kids can make staying home less of a drudgery and more of a special time.
Marie Kondo your home: Do a little spring cleaning and teach your kids this very important life skill. Tidy bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and all shared spaces. Deep cleaning and decluttering the home, especially at a time when everyone is at home, is key to keeping healthy. One mom even made a life-skills jar and asked her children to choose one to do a day.
Spring cleaning tips from Seattle’s Child:
- Spring cleanout: 12 steps to clearing clutter that will change your life
- Guide to donating your kids’ old clothes (check to determine who is accepting donations and how it works).
Get outside! There’s so much families are learning to do outside and in the much-needed fresh air. Ride bikes, go skateboarding, rollerblading or teach your child to swing way up high (pump those legs!)
Strolls and jogs around the neighborhood are the new norm. Make your walks interesting by identifying trees and plants along your route (some kids were inspired to keep a journal with drawings). Learn to harvest plants like nettle and lichen for medicinal purposes.
- Teach a child to ride a bike using these 4 steps
- 9 ways to make family walks more interesting for kids
- Look! 14 animals you may be able to spot in your own backyard
Family Cooking 101: Children will love to help you cook meals and bake treats for the family, especially if you’re teaching them how to make something they really love. Teach your child to use the microwave and toaster oven in a safe way, allow them to mix up a fruit salad or help stir batter, use child-safe knives (or a serrated pumpkin carving knife) to help chop fruits and vegetables. Challenge your older kids to learn a recipe from another country or make one that’s been in the family for years. Add in music and decorations and you’ve got a party!
Teach your kids about fermenting and pickling foods. Make jams and syrup for canning too. Baking no-knead bread is quite popular too (if you can find any flour), taking us back to the homestead. All great activities for a rainy day!
Gardening: Families are taking advantage of the good weather, gardening and learning about seed germination. Use raised beds or pots, children can help dig, transplant and water your edibles. It’s a great way to spend time together and to learn about the gardening process — with patience, of course! While you’re at it, make a beehive or plant flowers that will attract pollinators.
Toddler to preschool milestones: Having an independent toddler means less of a struggle for you! Teach your tot to choose clothes and put them on, including socks and shoes. Help them put on their jacket and zip up. … Head to toe, away we go!
Crib and diaper no more! Transitioning to a big-kid bed and potty-training are both on the agenda for a lot of parents. It’s the perfect time to contain those accidents.
Originally published in April 2020