Winter can be long and keep many of us cooped up, but being home with your kids can make a great opportunity to teach them some elements that school likely doesn’t.
No matter the age, many children got money for Christmas. Without making it a math class or a complicated lesson, let your children know some basics of budgeting. Teach them to start saving, whether it’s into their bank account or a piggy bank at home. Set a percentage to save and then allocate a percentage for donations/gifting. The rest can move into spending.
In my house, we also set aside a percentage to save for a specific item. This teaches children not to run out and spend money immediately and helps them learn to budget. If you want to go further with teens, talk about investing, interest, loans, and credit cards too.
Teach your children to cook. Weekends are made for families and if you’re lucky to be home with them, why not clip some recipes or have the kids browse Pinterest and choose some new meals to make. Take them shopping and have your children prepare the meal with you.
They’ll learn to measure, set timers, mix and dice and chop (age appropriate of course). Older kids and teens might love to make chili, homemade soup, or a stir fry with all the foods they love. Casseroles, cookies, and homemade breads like pumpkin, zucchini or banana bread are easy enough and fun.
Teach your children to read and write cursive! Your school may already do this, but many don’t, and it was painful to watch my children even attempt to sign their names at first. Have them practice their name in script from an early age, say third grade.
As you write lists and notes for your children, write them in cursive. I do this and at the very least, my children have learned how to read it, even my messiest notes. Imagine them finding old notes and cards from grandparents one day and barely be able to read them. It’s a lost art—and while I won’t argue if we truly need to know cursive or not—in this digital age, it can’t hurt to know it.
Teach them some basic home repairs. Do you let your kids help sand, spackle holes, paint, or clean out drains? Yes, it can be messy but they have to learn at some point. Let them do what they can as you tackle your winter projects.
Winter is a time when many of us do indoor projects and big cleanouts. Children of all ages can help. They’ll have a sense of responsibility and feel proud of themselves. Even younger grade school children love to use a screwdriver to remove nails. Open the toilet and show them how the plumbing works. Put together some furniture. Paint a room or a wall. There’s something for everyone and they can learn important skills they will need one day.
Current Events Knowledge
Teach them about current events. Too often schools spend time on history books and math problems and not enough about the world today. There are terrible fires in Australia now. Climate issues. Presidential elections. Droughts and floods. Nasa launches and discoveries.
There are many current events. You can probably set your Alexa to start your day with a current event or log in each day to show the kids something going on in the world (it doesn’t have to be negative). Start a discussion and know that one small current event a day can lead to a worldly knowledgeable informed child.
Schools can be wonderful, but as parents, it’s our job to make sure our kids are well rounded and learn outside the classroom as well. We nurture and love them but we also teach them and help them become responsible, informed, capable young adults.