Summer is here but our traditional vacations and activities are not. While many of us may have had our plans cancelled, the additional time affords an opportunity to help your child become independent. Believe it or not, UC Berkeley teaches a very popular Adulting course because many college graduates don't have the basic skills or knowledge to manage their own lives post graduation. It's never too early to start your own Adulting course at home.
Here are some simple suggestions to make your kids “adult ready” and improve your pandemic life.
Gain the skills and knowledge by reading an Adulting book
How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lycott-Hains, former Dean of Admissions at Stanford, is great for parents who want to foster self-reliance. She really explains how the US got itself into a situation where kids don’t learn basic skills. It works together with my book How to Raise Successful People in which I explain my acronym: T.R.I.C.K. Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, Kindness. It is the key to effective parenting and teaching.
Start your own Adulting Summer Camp at home
You can divide your summer into weeks where you have a focus aligned to part of the 5 modules in the Adulting course:
- Money, Home and Food Management
- Personal Care, Health, Social Skills & Safety
- Education, Job Seeking Skills & Job Maintenance
- Housing, Transportation, Community Resources, Understanding the Law & Recreation
- Young Parents Guide
Topics like home management, food management, personal care, health, and social skills are age-appropriate for 10 year olds. There is no reason to wait until college to learn these essential skills.
Week 1: Home Management
The first week can be devoted to taking care of your home: cleaning, bedmaking and laundry. It is crazy that 18 year olds need a course to teach them this but you can start as early as 8. If they can learn to ride a bike, they can learn to turn on a washing machine, dryer and fold their clothes. They can also use a vacuum, broom or pull weeds. Be sure to tell them they are working to have ‘adult skills’. For more advanced topics, have them help lead a home improvement project.
Week 2: Personal Care
The second week can be devoted to self care. Taking care of yourself is one of the most important skills a child can develop. It will make a difference for life. These are simple concepts but often difficult habits to form. Eating well, sleeping well, practicing good hygiene and exercising are keys for a successful like. Make it into a game or a competition with rewards. Who in the family got the best sleep? Who had the most nutritious food? Who walked the most steps? Kids will be more engaged.
Week 3: Build Empathy and Learn About Equity
The third week can be devoted to anti-racism. We as a nation need to make sure all people no matter their skin color or background have the same opportunities. This can only happen if we all work together. Here are some great resources put together by Oona Hansen, a Medium blogger. Oona says she teaches the topics to her kids through a mixture of "direct instruction, independent research, and hands-on practice." They also watch movies that support the themes to further drive home the message.
You are an expert in Adulting and this summer is the perfect time to extend your skills and knowledge to your kids!