My intention is for this to be part of a multi-series post about life skills that all kids should know in today’s world. We’ll start with toddlers – that’s what I have direct knowledge of, so that’s where we’ll begin. I’m not saying that I’m necessarily good at getting my son to follow my instructions, but then again, he hasn’t taken well to my inner drill sergeant mindset and expectations of him asking, “How high?” after I knife-hand him to “Jump!” I’m not going to get into the bullshit about what your kid needs to know by what age; everyone learns at different speeds and on different levels whether you’re a kid or an adult.
I’m just going to generalize and lump it into “toddler” life skills. By teaching them these 8 “simple” tasks, it’s not only a good way for them to learn the task itself, it teaches them responsibility and independence. It’s also a good way to make your own life easier in the long run. Of course, there’s also the added benefit that it increases their self-confidence, which makes them happy. And we all know that when a toddler is happy, life is much easier…for everyone. As a side note, we can also call this, “No, insert derogatory comment, that’s not how you do it!” lessons. Keep reading to see what I mean.
(No, dumbass, just pushing your toys to the side of the carpet is not cleaning up!)
2. How to get dressed and undressed.
(No, soup-sandwich, putting your shirt on your legs, and your underwear on your head is NOT getting dressed!)
3. How to feed themselves.
(No, moron, next time take smaller bites!)
4. How to brush their teeth by themselves.
(No, numb-nuts, you’re supposed to brush, not eat it!)
5. How and when to wash their hands properly.
(No, ass-hat, you need to wash the soap off before leaving the bathroom!)
6. How to play nicely with others and share.
(No, slick rick, just because you grabbed the toy from them doesn’t mean it’s your turn now!)
7. How to wipe their own nose.
(No, sicko, it’s not okay that you got snot all over me from blowing your nose, I told you to use 2 hands!)
8. How to use good manners.
(No, asshole, just because you said “excuse me” doesn’t make it okay to fart loudly at the dinner table!) There’s a bunch of things that I’m intentionally leaving off this list, like how to make their own bed, how to put shoes neatly in the closet, or how to fold clothes and things of that sort. You can shoot for those things if you want – but personally, I’m picking my battles. This goes back to my blog post about Stress. See #13 – everything doesn’t always have to be perfect.
You’re not going to be able to teach them all of these things at once, and I don’t feel like getting frustrated all the time when their shoes aren’t exactly in a row in their closet. At this point, I feel it’s more important that they learn the value of “thank you” and “you’re welcome,” but that’s up to you.
Disclaimer - Same as the disclaimer in my last post. However, in reference to the derogatory comments I mentioned after each task—don’t actually say them to the kids. Seriously, as much as it’d probably make you feel better, and sound funny, it’s detrimental to their development and self-esteem. Just correct them accordingly, have patience, and keep persistent. They’re not going to get it on the first try, or probably even the second. But they eventually will, and they’ll have a solid foundation to build more good habits upon as they get older.
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