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Parents these days rely on Sunday school teachers, youth pastors, school teachers and coaches to “raise” their kids. That’s just where we are at in the world today. When kids are at home, they watch tv and play video games. Then parents want to know why their kids grow up to feel entitled, rude, or unsocial. There are some really simple things you can teach your kids, to help them grow into people who will actually improve society. Here’s a list of them!
1. Teach your kids how to introduce themselves.
Why is this important? This is how they’ll make friends, how they’ll meet their boss, their coworkers, their spouses. Literally everyone meets through an introduction. Teaching your kids how to introduce themselves will instill confidence in them as well. Teach them that they introduce themselves to their elders, as a point of respect. Show them how to properly shake hands. These all seem like really small things, but they’ll make a difference in their future relationships. No dad wants to shake hands with a “limp fish” from the boy wanting to date their daughter. Right?
2. Have fun outside.
You’ve been at work all day and your tired, you’re trying to cook dinner, the kids are driving you nuts. We’ve all been there. It’s really easy to just turn a tv on, hand them a phone, iPad or computer. And I know we all do it sometimes, but we need to try not to make that our kids’ version of fun. The outdoors is scientifically proven to help our minds and bodies, don’t take that from your kids! Even if it’s a 15 minute game of catch, playing hopscotch, catching butterflies, sitting outside and looking at the stars, do something outside with your kids every day. So you aren’t really an “outdoorsy” or sporty kind of person. You don’t have to be! Grill burgers outside and have yours kids help, find shapes in the clouds, take a game of scrabble outside, or take your favorite books to the front porch! Sitting in front of a screen for hours is proven unhealthy, and we as parents can not lock our kids into a world, that isn’t the real world. Because if we do, they will grow up not knowing how to function in the real world.
3. Clean Yourself Up!
Really? Yes really! Have you ever heard the phrase “clean yourself up before dinner”? Of course you have, you are either old enough to remember hearing relatives say it. Or you’ve heard it on your favorite sitcom. Have you ever said it to your kids? I’m not saying your kids should be prim and proper all the time. But when you know you are expecting guests, or you are going out. Your kids should know to have on clean clothes, hair brushed, teeth brushed, and recently bathed! Otherwise you are going to end up with teenagers who haven’t showered in a week and refuse to wear deodorant, and you’ll be thinking, how did this happen?!
4. Learn to cook. Boys too!
We live in a world where everything is easy access. Hungry? Go to the closest fast food restaurant and you’ll have food in five minutes. So we are growing up with more and more generations of kids not knowing how to cook. We are also growing up with a lot of households having two incomes or the mom being the sole provider. Teaching your kids the art of cooking will help them so much in their future. If your son marries a woman who works, and he gets off work before her (or if he is a stay at home dad) why shouldn’t he be the one to cook dinner? Well, he needs to know how to cook in order to do. I don’t mean you have to teach them how to cook anything fancy, but they should be able to do simple dinners. Know how to boil noodles, how to brown beef, grill chicken and hamburgers. That’s all really simple stuff ! Teach them how to use an oven. You may laugh, but really you’d be surprised how many people don’t know how to turn on an oven!
5. Cleaning & Laundry
Like this is titled, this is common sense stuff! If you aren’t giving your kid’s “chores”, you should be! If they know how to work the tv remote, iPhone or iPad, they can figure out how to dust and vacuum! If your kid is bringing home their laundry from college every weekend for your to clean, something is wrong! A washing machine typically takes two buttons to push to turn it on. Not much simpler than that! Again, please teach your son this stuff as well as your daughter!
6. Home Repair
I am lucky to have married a man who can fix a little bit of everything. In the old days, people didn’t call a handy man every time something needed fixed, they did it themselves! All you have to do now days is look it up on YouTube, and there will be a tutorial ! Teach your kids how to change light bulbs, check the breaker box, and how to use all the basic tools. And teach your daughters! I wish I knew how to use more power tools, although my husband it probably glad that I don’t. Because I would have a project going on all the time !
7. Phone Etiquette
People used to have one phone in the house, and you had to make sure no one else was going to use it before you did. Well now everyone has their own phone, and kids are getting one younger and younger. One of the rules we have already started to apply (my kids don’t have phones yet, but they keep my husband and I in check!) is No Phones At The Table. Yes, we sit down at the dining table for dinner. Do we always! No. But I like to as much as we can, because we get to spend time together, and I want to continue that as they get older. So my husband and I are not allowed to use our phones during dinner time unless it is important. I also heard on a parenting podcast a rule that I will have when my kids have phones. And that is, no phones in the bedroom. Why do they need phones in their bedrooms? Well for no good reason that I can think of. Privacy? No such thing in my house, if you can’t say it in front of me or dad, you shouldn’t be saying it.
No one knows how to communicate any more. Texting, online commenting, direct messages. That is the form of communication now. Please, please teach your kids how to talk to people! Show them how to start a conversation. A simple, “hey how are you doing?” Usually does the trick! Show them how to continue a conversation. You carry on a conversation by asking questions, not talking about yourself! Then show them how to end a conversation so there isn’t that awkwardness at the end. “Well, it was nice talking to you, hope you have a great rest of your day.” So easy! But no one teaches their kids this!
9. Dating Etiquette
Do not, I repeat, do not let your son go pick up a girl at her house and honk the horn or text her. He’s got two legs, he can walk to the door and knock! That’s just disrespectful to her parents otherwise. And I really think that asking permission is still a great idea!
Please, Thank you, You’re welcome, yes ma’am, no sir, I’m sorry! All very simple phrases to say yet they aren’t said often enough!
Are there any others that I missed? Would love your feedback!
Resources: Joe McGee Ministry