For most kids, school is out for the summer! Yay! Put their leisure time to good use by agreeing on an independent living skill to master and work on it all summer.
Back when my son had just completed 4th grade, we practiced going to the market and buying groceries all summer. By the time he started 5th grade, he could walk into any grocery store on his own and pick up a few items for his mom who didn’t want to get out of the car [that was my excuse anyway]. Our local market had a self-check aisle which was perfect for him. We did lots of rehearsing, with me shadowing, then he’d shop and pretend I wasn’t there [but I was].
His “final exam” was when I actually remained in the car and he went into the store with a list of a few items and some cash. I remember he came out once to tell me that the kind of applesauce we always buy wasn’t available, and he was unsure of what to substitute. But we discussed it and he went back in to complete his mission. [Lucky for him and me that he didn’t walk out of the store carrying the other items, or we’d have a totally different subject to talk about here!]
Anyway, summer is a great time to hone your child’s skills in a variety of areas. Remember to take baby steps—three to five steps at a time. Here are a few ideas:
- Laundry [HINT: The easiest one to start with is washing, drying & folding towels.]
Folding Towels is an Easy Skill to Master. Parents must be willing to give up expectations for “hotel-style” folding — at least for a while.
- Operate the washer & dryer
- Sort clothes
- Be familiar with detergents, fabric softeners, stain removers and bleach
- Select the correct water temperature for different fabrics
- Select the correct drying cycle
- Clean the lint screen after each use
- Fold clothes and put them away
- Wake up on his own in the morning
- Set and use an alarm clock
An important step to self-reliance!
- Know how to exit apartment/home in event of an emergency
- Know when and how to call for emergency services
- Know when to call 911—and when not to
- Know how to lock and secure all doors and windows
- Know basic first aid skills or how to get added assistance when needed
Cooking [teach him to prepare two dishes for each meal]
Another crucial step in teaching your child self-reliance.
With patience, understanding and a whole lotta practice, you and your child will have a productive project for the summer that will result in an important life skill by September.
Have fun with it and good luck!