Sunday, 23 September 2018

The P3 System Equip Kids Now to Fly Away Later

 

By Janet Lund

From  the  moment  our  daughter  entered  our  world,  I  felt  an  amazing  amount  of  responsibility  on  my  shoulders.  I  remember  thinking,  “Oh  my  goodness!  She  is  helpless.  Ineed  to  keep  her  safe,  and  feed  her,  and  teach  her  how  to  walk  and...and...”  There  were  so  many  skills  for  her  to  learn.

Boy,  the  time  flew  by.  One  minute  I  was  changing  her  diapers  and  the  next  I  was  reminding  her  to  put  her  coat  on.

Once  she  started  school  I  always  looked  forward  to  summer  vacation.  The  school  year  became  such  a  defining  factor  in  the  family  routine.  When  the  first  day  of  summer  came,  I  felt  like  I  could  finally  take  a  deep  breath.  Ahh...family  time.

However,  I  found  that  if  I  didn’t  spend  time  planning  for  family  time,  the  summer  months  would  slip  through  my  fingers  like  a  skinny,  wet  bar  of  soap.  Before  I  knew  it,  they  would  be  gone.

So,  I  developed  the  P3  system.

Pause.  Plan.  Prepare.

Summer  is  an  excellent  time  of  year  to  not  only  make  family  memories  with  your  kids  but  to  also  continue  what  you  started  years  ago:  teaching  life  skills.  

PAUSE:  You  may  feel  like  you  have  plenty  of  time  to  do  this.  But  when  you  start  considering  how  many  more  summers  you  will  have  with  your  kids  at  home,  you’ll  realize  that  you  don’t.  Your  kids  will  be  moving  their  graduation  tassel  from  right  to  left  before  you  know  it.

PLAN:  Consider  these  questions...now.  Will  your  child  be  equipped  and  ready  to  take  on  the  world?  Will  they  have  all  the  necessary  skills  to  be  on  their  own  before  heading  out  the  door?  Will  they  know  who  they  are,  as  well  as  whose  they  are?  Can  they  change  atire?  Wash  their  clothes?  Manage  a  checkbook?

PREPARE:  For  their  sakes  and  yours,  do  not  leave  all  the  life-skill  training  for  the  lastmonth  before  they  move  out.  Think  through  and  commit  to  a  short-list  of  those  things  youmost  value  for  them,  and  then  get  moving!

Good  for  them.  Good  for  you.

Making  sure  your  child  has  the  tools  necessary  to  take  care  of  themselves  will  be  a  great  service  to  them.  They  will  already  be  stressed  out  adapting  to  all  the  new  things  in  their  life  when  they’re  moving  out.  The  more  skills  they  have  mastered,  or  at  least  been  taught,  the  smoother  their  transition  into  being  an  independent  adult  will  be.  

It  will  also  make  setting  them  free  less  nerve-rattling  for  you.  You  will  be  able  to  speakmore  easily  words  of  confident  encouragement.  Knowing  you  have  taken  the  time  to  teach  your  “chicks”  how  to  fend  for  themselves  will  make  the  transition  to  having  an  empty  nest  a  little  less  anxiety-ridden  for  you.  

6  steps  to  equipping  your  kids  with  life  skills

1)  Take  time  to  think.  Brainstorm  the  different  things  that  you  want  your  kids  to  knowhow  to  do.  Reflect  back  on  your  own  experience.  What  things  did  you  wish  you  had  known  or  were  so  grateful  that  you  did  know  when  you  moved  out?

2)  Make  a  list.  Write  down  your  ideas  so  you  don’t  forget.  Otherwise  brainstorming  will  just  stress  you  out.

3)  Organize  and  prioritize  your  list.  Doing  this  will  help  you  conjure  up  more  things  you  want  them  to  learn.  For  example,  make  a  section  dedicated  to  the  kitchen.  If  you  want  your  kids  to  have  a  clue  on  how  to  safely  feed  themselves  (right?),  think  through  all  the  kitchen  skills  that  they  need  to  know.  Checking  dates  on  meats,  picking  out  fresh  fruits  and  vegetable.  Taking  care  of  pots  and  pans.  Using  a  measuring  cup.  The  importance  of  not  walking  away  from  the  stove  when  you  are  cooking  on  the  stovetop.  Using  timers  when  baking  and  being  careful  around  hot  oil.  You  get  the  idea.

4)  Put  the  year  you  plan  to  teach  a  skill  next  to  each  item.  Of  course,  teaching  your  child  to  drive  when  they  are  5  would  not  be  appropriate,  but  introducing  them  to  the  car  is.  Show  them  where  a  spare  tire  is  often  located  in  a  car  and  introduce  them  to  the  jack.  Teach  them  how  to  air  up  a  tire  and  check  the  pressure.  These  can  be  useful  things  for  a  younger  child  to  become  familiar  with.  Exposing  your  kids  to  things  before  officially  teaching  them  the  “big  kid”  skill,  like  driving,  can  make  it  easier  and  more  interesting  for  them  to  learn  when  their  time  comes.

5)  Make  a  schedule  with  your  child.  Remember,  that  as  your  child  becomes  a  teen  they  will  not  be  around  quite  as  often,  so  take  advantage  of  your  time  with  your  kids  when  they  are  younger.  Also,  be  sure  you  sit  down  together  to  make  a  teaching  schedule  no  matter  what  their  age.  It  will  help  you  both  remember  and  keep  you  on  track  to  cover  all  the  skills  you  want  them  to  know.

6)  Need  some  help?  If  you  need  help  teaching  some  of  these  items  on  your  list,  think  through  who  could  help  you  out  (friends,  family,  youth  pastor,  teachers,  etc.).  Then  reach  out.

Great  skills  to  teach  your  kids  before  they  leave  the  nest:

  • Washing  clothes,  spot  cleaning,  ironing
  • How  to  take  care  of  your  own  bicycle
  • Changing  a  tire
  • Balancing  your  checking  account
  • Organizing  and  paying  bills
  • Grocery  shopping:  checking  dates  on  food,  comparing  prices,  and  recognizing  fresh  fruits  and  vegetables
  • How  to  cook  meals,  make  sandwiches,  healthy  snacks
  • Teach  how  to  be  a  good  host  when  people  come  over  
  • Proper  etiquette  when  they  are  a  guest  at  someone’s  home
  • Tips  on  keeping  yourself  safe  when  out  by  yourself

And  the  list  goes  on...

What  else  will  you  add  to  your  list?

If  you  think  it  is  important  for  them  to  know,  then  it’s  important.  Even  simple  little  tricks  you  have  learned  will  be  greatly  appreciated  when  the  situation  calls  for  it.

One  more  thought...

The  positive  attitude  you  bring  to  teaching  each  new  task  will  echo  on  into  your  child’s future.  They  will  fondly  remember  how  it  felt  to  learn  each  skill.  So,  bring  your  positivity to  make  it  an  exciting,  joyful  adventure.  

Before  you  teach  a  new  task,  be  sure  you  do  these  three  things:

  1. Put  all  your  troubles  on  a  shelf.
  2. Take  a  deep  breath.
  3. Say  a  prayer  for  patience,  understanding,  and  joy.

That  way,  each  experience  will  bloom  into  a  happy  memory  maker  for  both  of  you.

Equip.  Encourage.  Empower. Mom  Keep  Calm.

Janet  Lund  is  a  relationship  coach  who  specializes  in  nurturing  the  bond  between  moms  and  their  teen/pre-teen  daughters.  She  leads  moms  through  coaching,  speaking,  and  songwriting.  Janet  has  spoken  and  performed  in  Canada,  the  United  States,  and  Norway.  Follow  her  on facebook.com/momkeepcalm and  visit  her  website  momkeepcalm.com for  parenting  tools  and  words  of  support  to  be  a  calm  mom.

 

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