Children living in an increasingly changing world and parents are often at a loss when preparing their offspring for a future that promises to pose never-before-seen challenges. The last year has shown parents that it is impossible to equip children with all the skills necessary to navigate an ever-evolving environment.
However, some life skills are timeless, and it seems that the younger generation needs them more than ever before. Here are some basics your kids should know by the time they leave middle school:
Teaching kids about money is vital if you want them to survive in the adult world without running into financial difficulties or ending up back on your doorstep because they could not manage their money. The National Financial Educator’s Council recommends teaching children about money from an early age to ensure that they have the necessary skills when they start earning money.
As your children enter middle school, introduce an allowance system. Teach them to divide the money into three categories: necessities, luxuries, and savings. Remaining within the confines of a budget is an essential skill. Children who run into difficulties can learn about loans by borrowing extra money from their parents and repaying it in installments with interest.
Communication and connecting with others
As children get older, they should learn about acceptable behavior when interacting with others. Behavioral issues to address include bullying, physical violence, and sexual harassment. Kids who understand how to communicate their needs, thoughts, and feelings are less likely to act out and display behavioral problems.
Friendships and relationships deepen during middle school. Children become less reliant on their families and more concerned about what their friends think. While having friends is essential, a child should know how to stay true to their values. Understanding how to put boundaries in place will make for healthy relationships between your child and the people they encounter.
Schooling is too often focused on rote learning, leaving little room for independent thought. However, the ability to think critically is precisely what helps children make sound decisions and succeed in the classroom.
Children who learn to assimilate, analyze, and disseminate information instinctively make sound choices. The ability to sort through a bombardment of messages, formulate hypotheses, assess risks, find innovative solutions, and learn from mistakes is essential for functioning in the adult world. Middle school is an ideal time to learn critical thinking skills in an environment where kids can learn from misjudgments.
Self-discipline and motivation
Outside the school environment, when they graduate, many young people fall apart because they are used to having teachers and adults direct and motivate them. Instead of discipline being a conscious choice, they see it as something enforced by others. Without someone standing over their shoulder to ensure that they do the right thing, these youngsters are susceptible to making questionable, life-altering choices.
A self-disciplined child who does not rely on others to motivate them will be more successful at high school, college, and beyond. Parents should encourage their kids to undertake self-driven actions and not require someone to keep them in line.
Middle school is the correct time to reinforce everything your children have learned about personal hygiene and self-care. They should no longer need you to remind them to bathe, brush their teeth, and do their laundry.
Your child should also know how to defend themselves in a dangerous situation. Sign up for a local self-defense course with your child to boost their confidence and independence. Your child’s safety is of paramount importance, and you will not always be there to protect them.