Life Skills Every Child Needs to Learn

Life skills are something we as parents need to take the time to teach our children! I have created a list of life skill that we need to teach them as they grow up and hit the appropriate ages to learn. Life skills are tools your child needs to know to be successful in life, they don’t teach all of these skills at school! Some of the skills is knowing how to do laundry, cooking, knowing who to call when there is an emergency, etc.

It is up to us as the parents to take the time and teach them the valuable life skills that will make their adult life a lot easier, when they decide to leave the nest. You want your child to be able to thrive on their own, and have success, and by teaching these life skills it will help prepare them!

Sometimes you might find it is easier to complete the task yourself, then to designate your child doing it. But by doing that, we are taking away valuable teaching moments. Don’t rob your child because it is quicker if you do it yourself. Make sure that as a parent we take the time to help teach our kids valuable life skills!

List of Life Skills to Teach Your Child

List of Life Skills to Teach Your Child

These life skills listed below range from around two years and up, so obviously your fifteen year old should be able to brush their own teeth. I wanted to create a nice list, so that it can benefit kids of all ages. This is a great way to look over the list and keep it in mind if a situation arises in the future! These truly skim the surface, but it will give you a good idea of where to start, if you are unsure.

  1. Groom themselves – brush teeth, comb hair, bath, etc.
  2. Play safely alone.
  3. Clean up room and do chores around the home.
  4. Minor yard work.
  5. Minor home improvements.
  6. Check oil on car, put gas in, air in tires, etc.
  7. Know how to manage money, and keep a budget.
  8. Go grocery shopping and clothes shopping on their own.
  9. Know who to call in case of an emergency.
  10. Be able to help or fully do laundry.
  11. Know how to take public transportation.
  12. Pay bills like insurance on car, rent, etc.
  13. Sit quietly when in class or other situations where it is required.
  14. Have manners to others.
  15. How to Vote.
  16. How to pick out ripe produce at grocery store.
  17. Know their full name, address, phone number, and other important details.
  18. How to communicate properly with others.
  19. Feed and water pets.
  20. Know how to ride a bike, roller skate, etc.
  21. Understands stranger danger.
  22. Simple mending and sewing if needed.
  23. Understands healthy and balanced meals and can plan one.
  24. Can follow rules and not break them.
  25. Can create a resume and apply for job on own.
  26. Can be dependable when it comes to work and showing up on time.
  27. Knows how to take care of themselves if they get sick.
  28. Will ask for help if they need it.
  29. Controls their temper if they are angry.
  30. Understands you have to work for your money to pay bills.

List of Life Skills to Teach Your Child

These are just skimming the surface of life skills you need to teach. We might overlook these simple tasks we do each day, but we have to teach them to our children. All too often we overlook teaching our children to cook, and then they are left eating out at fast food places, or tossing stuff in the microwave because they don’t know. Or they overdraft their bank account, and don’t get why they get charged. Take the time and teach your child from when they are young and even after they leave the nest, all these valuable life skills!

Safety First: How To Protect Kids At Play Time

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Everyone is unique, but if there is one thing kids have in common it’s their desire to play. Whether it is on the internet or outside, they love to get stuck into a long, hard session. For parents, this is a godsend because keeping your kids active is one of the major parts of being a mom or dad. However, there is a problem: their safety. Unfortunately, play time isn’t always a secure pastime and accidents do happen. If you want to protect your children, you have to take action. Here is a couple of things that should help.

Reconsider Their Toys

Regular toys look harmless on the surface, but there may be issues going on underneath the hood. Simply put, there is no way for you to know what is in a toy, which is frightening. For example, the manufacturer may use paint that is dangerous in large quantities. Or, it may use chemicals that can seep into a baby’s skin and cause rashes. Thankfully, natural toymakers are on hand to help. With things like an organic playmat and a rattle, there is no reason to worry about their health. All you have to do is start buying organic alternatives. Sure, it is expensive, but it is worth it for the sake of your children.

Don’t Walk Before They Can Crawl

Every kid loves to do things like ride a bike, and parents love watching them do it for the first time. But, unless your child is the next Mat Hoffman, they will be a few scrapes. For the most part, they are small incidents which go away after a short cry. However, there is a real possibility of danger with a bike, which is why the safety equipment is imperative. Simply put, if you have the best, the odds of an accident reduce dramatically. Take training wheels as an example. By fitting a bike with stabilizers, no one should lose their balance and fall off. When they have it mastered, they can move onto the next level.

Parental Controls

As the intro eluded, playing outside isn’t the only way modern kids spend their time. Nowadays, children love to surf the internet and play video games online. On the face of it, there isn’t too much wrong with this as long as they play outside as well. But, when you delve deeper, there is a safety threat. Although it is a taboo subject, there are people online that prey on young kids. To keep them out, parental controls are essential. That way, your children won’t be able to access sites that are potentially dangerous when you are not watching.

Finally, the best thing you can do is try and watch them as much as possible. Okay, it isn’t easy or realistic, especially if you have more than one. However, it is the only way to ensure that they aren’t doing something hazardous. All it takes is a question or a quick glance in their direction to know if everything is okay.

10 Products to Help Kids Focus

With the stress of standardized testing and a fast paced educational environment in our schools, it is no wonder more kids are exhibiting signs of ADHD and anxiety. There are less exercise times, such as recess being slowly taken away from the elementary children who need that mid-day break to release energy. The pressure is on for kids, parents and teachers to figure out how to get kids to focus when school is simply more demanding than ever.

10 Products to Help Kids Focus

What Parents & Teachers Can Do

You can do a couple of things as a parent or teacher in this day in age, you can just make excuses and blame the system for your child’s lack of focus or you can look into ways that you can help your child increase focus and release stress in healthy ways. Today I wanted to share 10 products that will help kids focus because there’s an increase in simple, affordable products that will truly help your child regain control of their mind and in turn succeed in school regardless of the pressure placed upon them.

10 Products to Help Kids Focus from Amazon.com

10 Products to Help Kids Focus

  1. Wukelili Tri Fidget Hand Spinner, Ultra Fast Bearings, Finger Toy, Great Gift for ADD, ADHD, Anxiety, and Autism Adult ChildrenWhite
  2. Fidget Hand Spinner,Vafru 360 Degree Rotation Fidget Tri Spinner Hand Toy Kit for Relieving ADHD, Anxiety, Boredom Spins
  3. Fidget Spinner, Vafru Hand Spinner Toy, Fast Bearing EDC Focus Toy for Killing Time Relieves Stress And Anxiety And Relax for Children and Adults Precision Copper Material
  4. AMILIFE EDC Fidget Spinner High Speed Stainless Steel Bearing ADHD Focus Anxiety Relief Toys
  5. GongFu Star Fidget Spinner Toy Time Killer Perfect to relieve ADHD Anxiety Reduce Stress Helps Focus White, Fidget Spinner

 

  1. 10 Products to Help Kids FocusThe Anti-Anxiety Spinners Help to Relieve Stress, Premium Fidget Toys with High Speed Bearing for Kids & Adults, Best Stress Reliever to Focus, ADHD Anxiety Stress Reducer Black & Blue
  2. FabQuality Cube 12 Sides Anxiety Attention Toy With Minion Key Chain Gift + eBook Included – Relieves Stress And Anxiety And Relax for Children and Adults BONUS EBOOK is sent by email

10 Products to Help Kids Focus

  1. Yeahbeer Hand Fidget Spinner Toy Stress Reducer and Perfect For ADD, ADHD ,Finger Toy fidget work Ultra Fast Bearings Camouflage green
  2. D-JOY Tri-Spinner Fidget Toy Hand Spinner Camouflage, Stress Reducer Relieve Anxiety and Boredom Camo Starry sky
  3. Anxiety Stress Relief Fidget Cube: Calming Toy for Focus, Relaxation, Distraction & Improved Mood – Aids Depression, Worry & Fear – Perfect Gift for Autism, Anger, ADD, ADHD & PTSD BlackGreen

Autism Awareness #LightItUpBlue for Understanding and Acceptance

I recently shared a bit about my autism story with my middle child. Diagnosed High Functioning Autistic about 3 years ago or so, it was a new learning experience. With that being said, finally having the diagnosis that now is pretty much Asperger’s helped us to better raise our son. Now when others want to look at him odd or make faces because he isn’t as social as one would anticipate for a 10 year old boy to be, I just say “that’s how he is and that’s okay! He will socialize when he warms up to people but that takes a while.” And I am okay with who my son is and I think he’s pretty darn awesome!

Since April is World Autism Month, I’ve decided to #LightItUpBlue with Autism Speaks to increase understanding and awareness of autism. I have found that more people are aware of autism than ever before. I personally have learned that there are many areas of Autism that make raising autism so tricky. No two parents will have the same child who exhibits exactly the same quirks or personality traits. It’s highly likely that you know someone with autism too since the CDC estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in every 68 children in the United States.

Autism refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.

Why I’m Going to #LightItUpBlue for Understanding and Acceptance

Autism’s most obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Autism Speaks encourages parents with concerns to seek evaluation without delay, as early intervention can improve outcomes.

My Son Was Diagnosed around age 8

It wasn’t easy to get an autism diagnosis. First he was said to be ADHD, bi-polar as that runs heavily in the family and at age 2 I even had a pysch try to give him anti-psychotic drugs. I walked out and never went back there! It isn’t easy to get a diagnosis for Autism because the symptoms can be clearly misdiagnosed for ADHD, bipolar and other mental health symptoms like anxiety. There simply aren’t many professionals out there who will look deeper, they prefer to give a quick diagnosis in my opinion and ADHD or anxiety is much easier to say a child has than to take the time to evaluate for autism. Again that is simply based on my own experiences. Finally we met a psychologist who has an adult son who is high functioning autistic – she diagnosed my middle kiddo in a mere matter of minutes. From that day forward my son was no longer on any medications and we worked to mold his household life into something that decreased meltdowns, was routine driven and worked for him.

Never Give UP!

If I had to advise anyone looking to get a diagnosis or answers, I would say DO NOT EVER GIVE UP! You will find someone who gets your child and will give you the diagnosis you and your child deserve. Try to find someone who has a child or grandchild with autism, they are the key to spreading awareness and getting more kiddos diagnosed properly.

Light it Up Blue

The “Light It Up Blue” campaign is about more than awareness — it is about increasing understanding and acceptance of autism.  This includes advocacy and support for people across the entire spectrum throughout their lives. It also includes advancing research into personalized treatments for autism and related conditions.  I encourage you test your understanding of autism by taking this quiz!

Certain medical and mental health issues frequently accompany autism. They include GI disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and phobias.

My son has GI issues, he has sleep issues and as a younger child ADHD was certainly present. Overall my son still has anxiety and after having his adenoids out he sleeps okay. There’s a tick he has when he is excited and now at age 10 he simply tells his friends that’s what he does when he’s excited, he doesn’t know why. There’s little symptoms he has that you can see if only you know more about autism, the average person may just see him a shy, quiet kid until you get to know him then he’s a chatty Cathy!

Why I’m Going to #LightItUpBlue for Understanding and Acceptance

Make a Difference …

You can help make a difference too by taking the Light It Up Blue Quiz to see how much you know about autism. If you’re moved to do so after visiting AutismSpeaks.org, please show your support for and understanding of the challenges faced by individuals with autism by sharing a photo to #LightItUpBlue for Autism Awareness Month too. Also, check out Autism Speaks’ nationwide calendar of autism-friendly friendly events and activities in April.

Help! My Kids Won’t Stop Arguing and Tattling on Each Other

Raising more than one child brings along the issue of sibling rivalry. For some reason my sons have more sibling rivalry in ways like my sis and I did growing up. One worries and tattles on the other. It’s like this never ending battle between sons and when it comes to boys, it can get downright physical between the two. One concept we have been really trying to enforce is that the siblings need to worry about their own self. Often times we get bombarded with so and so did this, but so and so had this, etc. etc. It’s frustrating as the parents within the household trying to stick to what we were attempting to say when the other sibling is butting in.

I admit there are times I just raise my voice, because I literally have had enough with the whole this isn’t fair, or brother got to eat this or do this. It’s annoying, frustrating and one of the most challenging parts of raising boys 2 years and 6 days apart. Even my teen daughter gets into the conversations occasionally and I am like, “you are older, what in the world!” It is what it is, siblings can get a bit competitive, argumentative, and it’s simply how sibling life goes. What can parents do to try to instill the thought process of worry more about you? Well I am no genius on the subject, as we are still trying to get this thought process to stick in our house, but here are some tips for you.

 

Throwback. Me and my kiddos WAY back, like 8 years ago 😍😘 #motherhoodrocks #happiness #throwback

A post shared by Brandy Ellen (@brandyellen1) on

How to Teach Kids to worry About Their Self Not Others

  • Well we obviously vocalize our desire to have the kids worry about their own self versus their sibling. Speaking in a firm voice stating do not worry about what your sister or brother is doing may be a good starting step.
  • Start explaining the differences in age gaps, for example the siblings here are 14, 10 and 8. One girl and two boys, which means life isn’t going to be fair because of the age gaps and gender differences. Reality is, first, second and third born will always be treated differently without intention.
  • Accept that birth order matters and work to explain this to the children. Your first born will tend to have a bit stricter rules but when child number 2 then 3, etc. comes along, and the rules get a little softer. This happens with nearly every parent.
  • Work on team playing board games. Having many board games in the home such as Uno, Monopoly, Life or Pictionary will help teach your kids to think only about themselves as well as work as a team. I think the key to teaching kids to worry about their own self is to teach team skills and competitive skills.

Parent Influence Help My Kids Wont Stop Arguing and Tattling on Each Other

Keep Your Head up and Stay Confident

There will be times you just want to knock the kids heads together. Maybe not literally and you more than likely wouldn’t actually do something like this, but it’s one of those moments when you stand there watching your children act like monkeys. They literally aren’t making any sense and are arguing over the silliest of things. Learn to remain confident as a parent and keep your head up. Don’t fear walking away and letting the siblings battle it out. I am guilty of not wanting to leave the boys to tend to working out their differences for fear of the physical side of it. I don’t want one brother knocking out the other. That’s the mommy protective gene kicking in.

Sometimes you just need to keep a silent eye on the situation and let them work out their differences. It’s the only way to teach them to communicate better during times of conflict. Last but certainly not least, you can do your part by being the example with your partner. Siblings who grow up in a home with two parents or parental figures that set the example of working out differences without anger will tend to figure out conflict resolution easier. Sibling rivalry really is just another form of a difference in opinion and can be worked out using basic conflict resolution skills.

Good luck parents’, raising more than one child has its positives and negatives, as does anything in life!

What is one tip you have for parents struggling with sibling rivalry and each worrying or tattling on the other?

Signs I should Have Seen For Autism

It was 2006. I gave birth to my second child. This was my first born boy. My other child was a girl and age 4. The first born child was easily reaching all milestones, talking ridiculously well at age 2 and advanced in so many ways. I knew the first born daughter was advanced, so when it came to raising another child, I had no idea what the norm was. My son came into this world weighing 9lbs 5oz and being around 19 or 20” in length. My son nursed so frequently that I ultimately gave up on breast and turned to formula when he was around 8 weeks of age. The boy would eat 16oz before even being able to fall asleep for just a few hours at a time.

Life was hard. I walked around with little to no sleep most days for around four years. The struggle was real.

Looking Back – Signs of Autism

While I am not sure if the lack of sleeping was a sign of autism, I know that my son had other characteristics of autism that went overlooked. For example, my first born son needed to have a specific colored bottle for each type of drink. I am uncertain of the exact colors that were for each drink, but he had to have one color cup for juice, one for milk and one for water. If you handed him let’s say the red with juice in it, but the red was normally for water, he would have a total meltdown. He would throw himself down after tossing his cup and proceed to be immensely angry. This was a huge part of his life, often easily angered. We had no idea what to do.

Mom Influence - Signs I should Have Seen For Autism

Mental Health Questions

Since bipolar and other mental health issues run heavily in my family, I simply presumed he had a mood disorder. That’s all that made sense to me, for I had no experience with autism, only mood disorders as I watched my sister grow up being bipolar. Most of the signs my son exhibited to me, were that of someone who was bipolar. Funny thing is, he was actually diagnosed ADHD, Bipolar then finally around age 8 we received a high functioning autistic diagnosis.

Signs of Autism In My Opinion

  • The need to have a specific cup for specific drinks at all times – highly routine driven.
  • Hated Loud Songs, like Happy Birthday song to him, assuming this is part of autism? To this day you cannot sing him Happy Birthday for he hates it with a passion and he’s now 10.
  • Toilet training didn’t occur fully until he was around age 4 years 3 months, that’s only because the pediatrician said it’s been long enough of waiting, let him go diaper free.
  • A delay in fine motor skills. To this day my son is 10 and still has a fine motor skill delay. We had him attending Occupational Therapy once a week for years to work on this.
  • Inability to have empathy without being logical told how to be empathetic. This means he has learned to have empathy but it’s a difficult road to get him to continue to have this concept mastered.
  • A huge love of animals, his dog Jenny sleeps with him every night. Having Jenny the pug sleep beside him was really the first time he started sleeping fully through the night on a regular basis. To this day, my son loves animals, insects, etc more than anything else beyond YouTube!
  • The absolute need for routine, it’s better now that he’s older, but for most of his life he couldn’t have unexpected events happen. For instance, you could go tell him to get his coat on because we were going to head to the store if it wasn’t planned, he would have a meltdown.

My memory may fail me often, so each of these examples are just a few that I recall having to deal with and some days still deal with as signs of autism.

 

Just a boy waiting for his Dunkin donuts #breakfast #holidaybreak

A photo posted by Brandy Ellen (@brandyellen1) on

Not Every Child with Autism is the Same

There are many different signs of autism and the autism spectrum is long, it even includes some mood disorders. So let’s say bipolar is something you are figuring out, this happens to fall closely within the autistic spectrum from what one family counselor told us years ago. You see, my son had many signs of autism but not nearly enough to get a full proper diagnosis until we met with a psychologist whose son has Asperger’s. She knew almost immediately upon meeting my son that he was on the spectrum. The way he rocked when in the room with her, the ticks he has when excited about something and his way of speaking with lack of eye contact. Those are all signs he had back around age 8 when we met with a psychiatrist who specialized in this area of mental health.

Keep on Fighting – Your Child Matters

If you are struggling with some of the things I had struggled with and you see a sign of autism in your child, my advice to you is to continue fighting. Do not take medications for your child thinking it will fix it. Trust me – my son was placed on some heavy duty anti-psychotic drugs and others from ages 4 up until age 8 when we walked away from medications completely and simply made lifestyle changes. The medications have left this boy with everlasting side effects that I won’t disclose as that’s his personal medical information. The road was rough, but we continued to meet new counselors and psychiatrists until finally we had an answer and a way to move forward that made sense!

Keep fighting for your child, you are the only one who can influence what happens in their life and it is your job to continue the long, sleepless night battle until you feel resolve.