"A child educated only at school is an undereducated child."
If you have small children, give them bite-size tasks or responsibility and as they learn to handle the small things, give them a little bit more responsibility or a harder task.
We encourage you to teach your children to be prepared for financial independence (how to handle money), doing their own laundry or helping with chores, how to make a meal, volunteering at home. You can also help teach them how to be prepared for school by working on projects, homework and studying for tests.
As parents we need to give our children opportunities to steer the boat and let them take the lead sometimes. Often parents do not let their kids take the lead, or they don’t even think about this possibility.
It is also important to get your kids involved in a team sport, extracurricular activity, a club, or scouts. Getting your kids involved and keeping them involved in activities will keep them focused on a positive interest and let them interact with kids that have similar interests. Being involved in a sport or club will give them an opportunity to learn from another adult coach, or facilitator who will encourage them and work with them to practice or work hard to reach a goal, whether it be doing well in a sports game, a tournament, or challenge.
Learning how to be prepared is so important because what we learn as we grow up helps us be able to meet deadlines, prepare for our jobs as adults, and keep ourselves organized.
For kids to reach their full potential, they have to know how the world works and how we go about getting what we want.
If we want to raise children to consider the state of the world and how each of us make decisions every day that impact our lives and the Earth, we need to make smart decisions and talk to our kids about the decisions. It is easy to take small steps that will have a big payoff, both for our communities and in imparting knowledge to our children.
Here are a few examples:
- Do you have a grocery store or shopping center within walking distance to your house? Take a family walk to the store to buy an item or two you need. You can teach the kids how you can save on gas, pollution, and also get some needed exercise.
- Make a meal at home with fresh ingredients or visit a local farm or restaurant that uses fresh local ingredients. Let your kids see the sources of the food they eat. Even better is to start a garden, and let your kids help raise the vegetables they eat.
If we have hopes that our children will help those in our own community, we need to expose them to helping others. Find out which local charities or churches allow kids to volunteer with you or if they are old enough to do volunteer work by themselves.
By Kristin Fitch and Sharon Pierce McCullough from "Parenting without a Paddle: Navigating the Waters of Parenthood"
Sharon is an artist, designer and author of both "how-to" books and children's picture books. She is also co-founder of ZiggityZoom and the managing editor. The book "Parenting Without a Paddle:Navigating the Waters of Parenthood" was co-authored by McCullough, along with Kristin Fitch, the other co-founder of ZiggityZoom. She is passionate about family and family fun.