With winter comes the colder, blustery days where we find comfort in the warmth of home. Winter can be a great opportunity to teach our kids some of the life skills that are more applicable for the months when we spend more time indoors. Here are some ideas for useful life skills suitable to teach in winter.
I have broken these down into two categories: skills to teach everyone and skills to teach kids according to age.
Video: Useful Life Skills Suitable To Teach in Winter
Life Skills to Teach to Everyone
I don’t know about you, but when warmer weather comes, I want to be outside ALL DAY LONG. That’s why when it’s cold and we have to be indoors more, I like to make the most of it by teaching our kids all the skills that have to do with being inside.
Winter is a wonderful time to teach kids to cook. Since we are indoors more anyway, why not spend it teaching them how to prepare food for the family?
What kinds of food do we tend to cook in winter? This is an opportunity to teach them what kinds of foods we make in each season. In summer, we like fresh fruit and vegetables, cold salads, and grilled food. However, in winter, we like stews and bread or a maybe a pot roast or meatloaf. In winter, we want comfort food!
Explain to them how you plan meals. Teach them how to follow a recipe showing them how to measure and pour. Show them how to crack an egg, how to use a can opener, how to thicken a soup. Let them do the work. The one doing the most work is the one learning!
What are some indoor maintenance issues that you have to regularly check in the house? Use this time indoors to teach these things to your kids. One thing that we have encouraged our older kids to do is to use YouTube to figure out how to fix broken things around our house.
Recently, we have had quite a bit of wear and tear to some of our kitchen chairs. They needed to be re-covered, but it was a project that always got pushed to the bottom of my list. Finally, I realized that this would be a great task to assign to an older child. Think about the projects and up keep that are waiting to get done around your house. Is there a project that an older child can tackle? It will be a great chance for them to learn something new AND to help contribute the the family as well!
Here are some other home maintenance skills for kids to learn.
- Fill the water softener with salt.
- Unclog a drain.
- Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change batteries.
- Change furnace filter.
- Check that flashlights have batteries in case of power outages due to snow.
Organizing can be a hard task for some kids to learn, but as they learn, they can get better and better at it!
When I don’t have time for random organization places like the tupperware drawer or my bathroom drawer or a section of the pantry, I love to offer to pay kids for projects like this. We keep the pay fairly modest, but we’ve learned how much is enough to be an incentive. And when they learn to do it well, it is more than worth the cost!
Here are some ideas for things kids can organize.
- Sock basket. (I have given up trying to keep everyone’s socks together.) When laundry comes out of the wash, all the socks go into a bin on our laundry shelf and we pay volunteers (usually a preschool age kid) a certain amount per match. In a family of our size, that adds up to a nice little bit of cash for a youngster!
- Kitchen cabinets or drawers. Tupperware drawer.
- Linen closet or foyer closet.
- Toy wardrobes.
- Game drawer or shelf.
- Bookshelves. Take all the books off the shelves and have them organize by genre, author, or kind.
- Fold and organize the clothes in their dresser drawers.
Do your kids know how to care for the outside needs of your home in wintry weather? Here are some basics.
- How to shovel snow.
- Proper way to brush and scrape snow off a car.
- How to salt a driveway or sidewalk.
- Clear gutters of icicles and check for any damage to spouts.
Life Skills By Age
Below are some more useful life skills suitable to teach in winter broken down by age. Most of these activities are inside tasks so they are perfect for winter months.
As our kids get closer and closer to adulthood, we want to make sure they are ready for the adult world. How many young adults entering the workforce for the first time don’t know how to do their own laundry, grocery shop, prepare food, pay bills, and all the other important skills needed to function in the adult world?
While I don’t want to undermine the value of higher math and science education, I believe we do our kids a disservice when we put so much emphasis on things like solving algebraic equations and calculating theorems, yet many kids are leaving the house without knowing how to cook or do their own laundry.
Here are some important life skills for older kids.
- Teach them how to file income tax.
- Order from a restaurant or call in an order from a menu.
- Prepare and make meals from start to finish.
- Pay bills.
- Manage dental and doctor appointments.
- Write a resume, prepare for an interview.
- Manage their bank account, write checks, and keep a ledger.
One long lost skill that kids are not learning in our age of technology is how to make a phone call. Although they are familiar with many apps and games, many of them are unfamiliar with answering and making phone calls.
In our world of texting and emailing, I didn’t think twice about teaching our kids how to talk on the phone until I listened in one day as one of our kids had to answer a phone call. I could tell from the get-go that she had no idea how to answer, what to say or how to respond. I had never taught her.
So, I took the time to show her how to how to answer a call by stating her name and reason for calling. I showed her where the speaker was and the microphone so that she knew where to listen and what to speak into. We role played how to talk with someone and then I showed her how to end the phone call. Then we practiced it a few times.
Here are some other helpful skills to teach middle-aged kids.
- Care of indoor houseplants. When and how often to water.
- Fire Safety, using a fire extinguisher, fire escape plan.
- Washing and drying their laundry.
- How to iron a shirt.
- Using needle and thread to sew on a button.
Winter is the most likely time for kids to wear shoes with laces. This a great time to teach them how to tie their shoes since it is the one time of year when they will often wear shoes with laces.
There are also so many skills in the kitchen for young children that are perfect for their developmental levels. Here are some ideas.
- Peel vegetables.
- Grate carrots.
- Empty the dishwasher.
- Sort silverware by kind.
- Hand dry large dishes and either 1. stack neatly on the counter or 2. learn where they belong and put them away.
What life skills are you teaching your kids? Can you think of other things to teach your kids in the winter months? I’d love to hear from you!
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