Publishing on Wednesdays & Fridays

Help your kid to help themselves

Last week I touched on the subject of “life skills” and mentioned that kids are sort of lacking those skills in some areas today. Heck, even some adults (like me), who had information like the Pythagorean theorem drilled into their brains in high school versus how to file your taxes and I sure as hell do not know how to change a flat tire, either.  

If the schools do not teach our kids these very much needed life skills, then we as parents must step up and do it – someone is going to have to teach me how to do MY taxes though first, like I am really in a pickle. I digress.  

Honestly, and this came up a lot during the pandemic, schools are not responsible for teaching our kids everything there is to know. It really should start at home anyways. We should be the foundation. We should be preparing them as toddlers to begin school and teach them how they are SUPPOSED to act. We should read to them at home. We should enforce rules and consequences. Talk to them about communication and how to make connections. Those are some of the earliest life skills that we can begin teaching our kids basically from the very start of life.  

When they get a little older start speaking to them about health and hygiene. I beg you, do not skip over the lesson on body odor. Please do not let your kid be the smelly kid just because they are simply clueless. Buy them all the deodorant. Start giving them chores so they can earn some cash and learn how to manage it (another life lesson I may or may not be too good at). Let them order their own food when you go out to eat.  

As they are approaching the college-bound age, teach them some interview skills for when they start looking for a job. Demonstrate how to use basic tools they may need for minor repairs around their dorm or apartment. Oh, and do not forget- the laundry. I do not trust my kids with this responsibility yet, but I do not plan on them bringing home trash bags full of laundry on the weekends for me to do after they move out. This one will come soon.  

Teach them to be self-aware, to be safe, to be kind, how to cope with failure and how to stand up for themselves.  

Oh, one more… how to administer basic first aid. This is actually one life skill I may possess, but if someone else is around that knows what they are doing, I will gladly pass the torch. So, the more people that have this life skill under their belt- the better for me. One thing I never wanted to be was a nurse.  

(Paige Nash is a wife, mother of three, digital journalist at the Webster Parish Journal and publisher at the Bienville and Claiborne Parish Journal.)