We live in changing times. How can we strengthen our families during these uncertain times?
How can we help our kids be ready for adulthood when we don’t know exactly what “the cold, cruel world” will be like then?
There are some skills that I believe will help them in most circumstances. They are ways to keep a practical yet resilient approach to what life throws their way.
5 Things to Do to Prepare Kids for an Uncertain Future
- Do something together. I know, this is a no-brainer. So many families are juggling activities to the point that you almost need to coordinate planners for anything. You can set aside a definite time and day each week for this, like Sunday afternoons. Or just try to fit something in whenever you get a chance. Even if you don’t get everyone coordinated for a weekly activity, keep trying. You can even use a 15 minute slot of time when it appears! Get the kids involved in brain storming ideas of things to do as a family. Planning together is an important part of building family cohesiveness. Discuss your budget for activities and help the kids work on this too. It’s part of their financial education.
- Speaking of kids learning to handle money, what are you doing to prepare them for someday having to
handle their own money as an adult? What are you teaching them about saving money? How about letting them sit in on your bill paying sometimes as you explain how you do it and why. Perhaps give them an allowance that they have to handle to cover some of their own expenses. Talk about smart spending and what you do in that area. Talk about saving to get something you want. Teach them how credit cards work and how to use them wisely.
- Teach your children time management. If your kids go to college it will be one of the most important skills to help them succeed there. Even if they don’t go to college they will be able to achieve their goals much faster with good time management. Ask them to organize their homework in ways that help them get it done at the best times. Have them keep a calendar of activities and prioritize for due dates. When they get a long-term project for school, scouts, etc. have them write out a schedule showing what they plan to do on each day. Of course a plan accomplishes nothing if they don’t do the work. I always told my kids, “Plan your work and work your plan!” By breaking it down into smaller chunks, the work becomes easier to tackle and your child can see if they are on track to finish by the deadline.
- Routines are a good way to take some of the stress out of your life and out of your kids’ lives. You are not stifling their creativity with a routine. You are clearing the way for more individual ideas when you remove the stress of making decisions at every turn. Bedtime routines are important and give your child a sense that all will be well with his world no matter what problems arise in the day. Routines are something your kids can count on as a anchor. They build resilience in your child even when times are stressful.
- Listen to your children. Sometimes you have to hear what they are not saying. And sometimes you have to listen to all sorts of details that don’t seem to matter. There is a saying something like, “If you listen to your child tell you the little things, they will someday tell you the big things.” We have found that to be true with our kids. The important thing is that they feel they can talk to you.
PS For lots of family activity ideas, click on the tag “family fun” below this post.