Home School Session: Make Yours a Crash Course in Life Skills Too
With the Coronavirus reports growing in severity, frequency and intensity, you may find yourself at near wit’s end trying to balance working from home with getting kids to do all of their homework without trying to kill each other. As social media reports suggest, parents are starting to become unhinged, what with all of the social isolation and too much time spent under the same roof with a gaggle of restless kids underfoot.
One opportunity that you can take during this stress-filled time in our lives is to get kids caught up on life skill proficiency. Like most of us living in the digital age, it is likely that you haven’t gone especially out of your way to teach your children how to survive on their own in terms of being self sufficient around the house.
Think back to when you were a child. Do you remember your mom suggesting that you do chores at home? Were you given a weekly allowance as an incentive to help out more around the house?
If you have failed to set up a system like this one and are tired of dealing with the endless cleaning and clearing out of spaces in your home, then the at-home orders given by health and government officials will be the perfect incentive to get going on a crash course in life skills 101 for your kids.
Please note that your child’s ability will vary depending on his or her age, personal development, fitness level and overall aptitude. If your child or children don’t seem able to manage a certain chore, you can always offer them a modified version or an opportunity to do something that is better suited to their willingness and abilities.
Below find some great ideas for what life skills to teach kids who are learning from home.
Basic cooking and serving skills. In terms of using the stove, apply your own careful discretion. For kids who seem ready, you can take them through the process of how to make a sandwich, how to put together a dinner salad, or how to prepare toast. You can team up on baking projects or make morning pancakes together. Don’t forget to hang back and let your kids do everything step by step. Taking over where your children fall short only enables them rather than helping them cultivate needed skills.
Dusting and polishing furniture. Every mom’s least favourite chore can become an easy way for your kids to collect a few dollars’ allowance. Grab an old sock or a dust rag and your furniture polish… or mix up a homemade cleaning recipe that you find online. Put kids to work dusting furniture, knick knacks and picture frames.
Washing and folding laundry. Laundry management is one of the simplest and most helpful tasks to enlist your children in doing. Plus, it will help immensely to have this tedious chore managed by someone other than you. You don’t even have to be picky about how the clothes are folded. Just a few simple lessons for kids in how to sort by item, match socks, and fold to fit into the drawer can greatly reduce your laundry to-do list. Littles can match and roll socks. Older kids can fill and run the washer and dryer. Soon enough, you’re on your way to having some capable laundry doers, either during a panic-inducing pandemic or just on an ordinary day.
Wiping surfaces. Now more than ever it’s important to keep all contact surfaces of your home clean of dirt and debris, and germ free. Even the smallest kids can help, and will even have fun, spraying and wiping table tops with disinfectant. You can use a soap and water solution, or combine vinegar and water with essential oils for a fresh, clean scent. If you use commercial cleaners, just have your kids don rubber gloves to avoid having skin contact with these substances.
Cleaning bathrooms. The bathroom is definitely a frequently used room of your home that needs daily disinfecting. Because it’s such a damp room where gross things happen, this is one of the more likely areas where germs are likely to spread. Keep home schooled kids busy – teach them the basics of wiping down the sink and tub, swishing the toilet with a disinfectant cleaner, and Windexing the mirror. Don’t forget to have your kids dispose of wipe rags properly, and thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water after cleaning the bathroom.
Vacuuming. Enlist older kids to help you push the vacuum around once or twice per week at minimum. Have them instruct younger brothers and sisters to pitch in by making sure that no stray items are left on the carpet which could result in a broken vacuum belt. For deeper cleaning and to remove pet odours from the rugs, let kids lightly sprinkle your carpets with baking soda. Then get the younger ones to walk and stomp all over the carpet to grind in the cleaning soda. Let it sit for an hour or two so the baking soda can do its job of absorbing odours. Finally, have your big kids vacuum the rugs for a cleaner, fresher home.
Taking out the garbage and recycling. One relatively easy task that is often best left to the preteens and teens of the family is managing garbage and recycling. Instruct your children on the night before garbage pickup is due in the morning, to go around and collect trash from all of the bedroom and bathroom garbage pails, and transfer those smaller bags into the larger bag of garbage that’s in the kitchen. Have them take all to the outside trash receptacle and then follow by removing and relocating any recyclables to the outside recycling bin.