Educators and developmental experts discovered that elementary level knowledge should include knowing how to count to 10, dressing one’s self and writing one’s name (www.scholastic.com).
Some of these skills are taught in a school setting, and some are learned at home.
What about the life skills that are not taught in school? When should parents introduce their kids to how to mail a letter, travel without technology, or create and use a budget?
Childhood years are the most influential time for learning. Introduce the concepts early in life so that they become a routine habit.
All three of my kids use a valuable tool that they learned young. We call this tool their “portfolio.”
Around age 14, each child found a way to earn income. My son had his doggy daycare business, and my daughter babysat for neighbors. The influx of income created a field trip opportunity to the bank to open their checking and savings accounts. They returned home with a stack of papers, and asked, “What should I do with this?”
I emphasized the importance of keeping the paperwork in a safe location and what we could do to organize it. We grabbed a three-ring binder and three-hole punch, labeled the binder, “portfolio,” and put it on their bookshelf.
When each child turned 16, car insurance papers were added to their portfolio, then school loan documents, renter insurance policies and investment statements.
The list will continue to grow, and learning it when they were younger might have saved them from some hard lessons.
Recently, I asked my adult children if they use their portfolios. Thankfully, they said yes. My daughter says she sees it as a nonnegotiable. “Where else would I keep all my bill receipts and investment forms?”
When they don’t know what to do with important papers, they three-hole punch it and add a new section to their portfolio binder. Organization is simple when you create a one-stop shop.
As my children graduated to adulthood, I was made aware of other life skills that I failed to teach them, like using spices when cooking, cleaning toilets weekly and the proper way to fold towels. Thankfully, it is never too late to learn.
Like the portfolio, we are finding ways to make these responsibilities fun, easy to implement into their routine and beneficial to them as responsible adults.
Kathie Rotz is an executive leadership coach and speaker with Unity Consulting and the author of “You Have Superpowers” online learning program.