Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Ten on Tuesday: Important Lessons to Teach Your Kids

{even if you aren't a homeschooling family}

Lately I've come to realize that there are some things young children need to know that they probably won't learn in school. I'm a homeschooling mom so naturally I'm always thinking of ways to teach and always teaching without "teaching." These little life lessons are important and can be taught easily, even if you aren't a homeschooling family. They don't require any "schoolwork"- it just takes a little one on one with your child. {Many of these lessons are in case of an emergency, but should be (and can be) taught with love and not fear.}

Ten Important Lessons to Teach Your Kids

1. How to use your cell phone. Does your child know how to turn on your smart phone? Take a few minutes to teach her how to get to the number pad and make a phone call in case of an emergency.

2. Your home address. To teach this, we relied on visualization and memorization. We printed our address on a piece of paper and posted it where BigGirl could see it daily, right on her art cabinet door at her eyelevel. I also said the address a lot in conversation with her. "Let's go home, to 555 Mulberry Lane, Grand Prairie," and "Here we are, back at 555 Mulberry Lane, Grand Prairie!" This is also good info for your child to have in case of an emergency

3. How to put lids back on pens and markers, and why it's important. Teach him to color on paper only, and to put the lids back on so the markers don't dry out. When they dry out you have to throw them away and then you have no more markers. I've heard many moms say "I don't let him play with markers," why not? "Because he marks on everything." Solution: teach him. Practice makes perfect.

4. How to put on (and take off) her own socks and shoes. This is a life lesson, yes, but also a huge time saver for mom and an independence skill- and children love being independent. Start early and let your child help put on her own shoes until she wants to do it by herself. It might take a while, and she might get frustrated sometimes, but again...practice makes perfect.

5. Stay away from the oven/stove. Just as you would teach your toddler to stay away from breakables, or the TV, or the stairs, teach your child that the area near the oven is off limits. Even when you're not cooking. That way, it's not a lesson you need to teach the hard way, when you are cooking.

6. How to treat books. With respect. Gently.

7. Not to answer the front door (or unlock it) without your permission.

8. Which neighbor is a helper, which neighbor's house is safe. One time, my neighbor's young daughter walked home from a friends house to find her house locked up and no one was answering the door. It was getting dark outside and from my driveway, where I was getting in the car to go to the store, I could see the panic overcome her as she knocked on the door, yelled for her mom, ran to the back door, and back around front with no luck. (Her family was inside, they just didn't hear her at the door.) I went to her and called her mom's cell phone and waited with her until they came to open the door. Immediately I went home to teach my daughter that if that ever happened to her, which neighbors to go to for help.

9. How to unlock the car door from the inside.

10. What to do if she can't find you in a public place. Do you remember losing your parent in the grocery store? It's as frightening on the child's end as it is on the parent's end. In the few instances when we've been separated by clothes racks in the store, I noticed my child has a tendency to bite her lip and quietly, but quickly look around for me. This is not what I want her to do. I had to teach her to 1-YELL my name as loud as she can. 2-Find a store worker, Police Officer or another Mommy and ask them to help find me. Come up with a plan and teach it to your child.

Does your child know these things? How did you teach them? What other important life lessons can we teach our children? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

And, even though I'm jealous that she's at Disney World right now, special thanks to the very wonderful OhAmanda for hosting Top Ten Tuesday. I love Tuesdays because of her!

[photo by McBeth]