Teaching Kids Self-Sufficiency
This has been a highly requested topic for me to share and one I wasn’t sure the best way to approach, so I put it off a few months. I never want anyone to think I’ve got all the answers on raising kids. Most days I feel like I’m just trying to come up for air. I do know how I want to raise my children and what I want to instill in them as they grow up. There is probably an endless list of qualities and attributes all parents hope their children gain during their childhood, and one of the very most important qualities that I try to teach my kids is self sufficiency!
“I was not a self sufficient child or teenager”
I was not a self sufficient child or teenager. Sure I had chores and knew how to do my laundry, but I was pretty reliant on my parents for most everything. In fact, I wouldn’t consider myself completely self reliant until I was 30 years old and a divorced mom of 3. In a way it was forced, I had no other option. I’ll tell you what, I’m grateful I learned and I figured it out! Because of this, I decided teaching my daughters self-sufficiency is a gift I can give them before I send them out into the world.
We as humans are extremely dependent. Dependent on our phones, on the security of everything we want or need to be at our beck and call with a smartphone in hand. But, what does self-sufficiency for kids mean? To me, it means teaching my children to rely on themselves, go after what they want and make no excuses for themselves or their lives. I want to provide them with the essential life skills they need to succeed in life. I work hard, hustle, and provide the best life I can for my family. I want the same for them.
Self Sufficiency Is The Key To Success
As a mother, OF COURSE I want to see my children succeed. I want them to chase their dreams and learn from their experiences, good or bad. It can be so hard to resist the urge to just pay for everything, making sure they have what they want. But, I have to remind myself, that my girls will not learn that way! They need to develop self-sufficient attributes NOW to be able to succeed in the future. And of course, I am always there for my children, encouraging them, guiding them in the right direction! But, I do not want my girls to rely on me so much.
When they graduate, and head off to college, they don’t know how to clean a bathroom, make eye contact and hold a conversation, budget their money, pump gas or unclog a drain( I literally had to call my mom at age 30 to walk me through how to fix a broken garbage disposal).
My girls will know how to save their money, how to enroll in their classes, how to cook themselves dinner, or put together a piece of furniture. The goal is to be independent and resourceful! By teaching our children these things now, we are laying a foundation for when they are grown up, on their own, and making their own life decisions.
Teaching your kids self-sufficiency as a parent can be tricky. It can be easy for parents to want to do everything for their children, making sure tasks go smoothly or not wanting to put their kids in an uncomfortable situation. I get it, we’ve all been there. Here are some simple and easy opportunities for teaching your children self-sufficiency.
Opportunities For Self-Sufficiency
Making Dinner For The Family!
This is a great starting opportunity for your kids to begin learning self-sufficiency. As much as I love Top Ramen, I don’t want my kids surviving off it through college. By having my children make a meal for our family every once and awhile, I am helping them learn to follow a recipe, make mistakes and find ways to solve them. My girls will do every step. From setting the table, making the meal and cleaning the dishes at the end, learning basic skills they will use for the rest of their lives!
Managing Homework and Busy Schedules!
I want my girls to learn how to manage their time correctly. I let my girls prioritize their tasks and to-dos by what they think are most important. They have and will make mistakes, but they’ll continue to learn from them. With Poppy and Avery in middle school and high school, of course friends seem like the most important aspect of their lives. But through trial and error, they’ve learned to prioritize their time and obligations. They are both straight A students and I don’t help them with their homework anymore (mainly because they passed me up around 4th grade;))
Saving Money For Things They Want!
Of course I help my girls when it comes to buying things they need (school supplies, sports equipment, necessary clothes, etc.) but, when it comes down to random things my girls WANT, they earn and save their own money. Did you see my post Age Appropriate Chores for Kids? This is one way they earn money. Another way is by contributing to Salty Lashes, you can hear more how we structure their pay HERE. This teaches them quite a few things. 1. It teaches them discipline.
Every time they earn money, they have to decide themselves to set that money aside and save it rather then blow it on food, candy, etc. 2. It teaches them that when they pay for their own things, they learn how to take care of their possessions! 3. It teaches them to decide what is important to save for and what might be more of a waste of money.
Making Their Own School Lunches.
This is another great idea to help teach your children self-sufficient tools. By making their lunches for school everyday, I can help teach them how/what to pack, create a healthy balance of foods and establish a routine of getting up a little extra earlier to pack their lunch.
Scheduling Their Own Appointments!
I can’t stress enough how important this one is!! Kids don’t verbally communicate as much as they should. When Avery and Poppy need to go in for a physical, need a doctor appointment or a dental appointment, I have the girls call and schedule it themselves! To this day, they still hate doing it and yet, I still make them. I even have them call in orders at restaurants, it’s so good for them to learn how to speak to a variety of people. Everything in this day and age is done digitally, and slowly we are losing touch of human connection and interaction! By having my girls schedule their appointments, I’m teaching them how to communicate with adults and do things that might usually make them uncomfortable.
Price Shop For Things They Need.
It’s important to learn the first price you see, isn’t always the best. By teaching kids how to price shop for certain items they need, they learn to negotiate deals, find the best price that works for them and their needs and have a better understanding of finances in general. When it comes to buying a new phone, a car, computer, or things like that, I want my girls to be able to make a smart, informed decision. Example: Avery needed Jazz shoes for school. I told her to do the research and send me the link to the best price WITH the best reviews AND free shipping. It took her about an hour and I’m sure it would have taken me much less time, but it’s good to learn how to shop!
Allowing Them To Suggest Chore Ideas For Extra Money.
This is a common self-sufficiency tool we use at the Allen home. I love when my girls are conscious of their surroundings, what could be done and what they could help with. I always teach my girls that I am open to suggestions to help them earn a little extra money here and there. This is SO important, especially for the long-term benefits. It teaches my children to hustle, to work hard for what they want and never turn down an opportunity to help others and help themselves!
I could go on and on of various ideas and opportunities that will help teach your children self-sufficiency, the list is endless! I really believe as parents we are doing our kids a disservice if we don’t teach them basic skills that have longterm benefits. Thanks for reading!