20 Things all Parents Should Teach their Kids

As parents, we are bombarded with information on how we should be raising our kids. Attachment Parenting, Internet Safety, Stranger Danger and Sugar Smart are all current parenting buzz words in the UK. They are, of course, all important aspects of parenting, but I sometimes wonder, whether, with so much information out there, do we fail to see the wood for the trees, and forget some of the other equally important lessons we should be teaching our kids?

As parents, we are bombarded with information on how we should be raising our kids. Here is my list of 20 things all parents should teach their kids...

Here is my list of 20 things all parents should teach their kids...

1. To respect themselves and the values of others.

Recognising that we are all individuals, with different values and beliefs is a fundamental lesson that needs to be learned by everyone. Understanding that others may have a different viewpoint, or experience to our own, fosters respect and open-mindedness in our young people.

It's important to teach kids that we're not all the same, and that treating others with respect means both taking the time to get to know them, and trying to see where they're coming from - we are all different, and that is something to be celebrated rather than fearful of.

2. To take responsibility for their actions.

Learning from the mistakes we make, and more importantly learning to put things right, is a fundamental skill which is invaluable throughout life. We all do stupid things, but the ability to turn a negative into a positive, is a skill that will prove useful throughout our lives.

Kids often say hurtful things to their friends. Encouraging them to make things right, rather than just avoiding the situation, encourages both a sense of emotional well-being and honesty.

3. Learn to negotiate, take turns and resolve dilemmas.

Kids need time with other kids to learn these skills. It is easy, as parents, to get in the habit of acting as referee. Encourage your kids to sort out their own differences, and give them time alone together to develop these skills.

4. Learn to accept disappointment.

We all want our kids to thrive and succeed. But learning to come second, or indeed carrying out an activity purely for the pleasure of taking part in it, is just as important.

Learning to be proud of the effort you have put it, despite the outcome is such positive lesson for kids to learn. Wanting to do well is great, doing the best you can is to be applauded.

5. Make friends and socialise.

Encouraging kids to develop solid social skills prepares them for a lifetime of healthy interactions, and are an integral part of functioning in society. Good manners and communication, being considerate of the feelings of others and expressing personal needs are all essential skills to learn in childhood.

6. How to manage boredom.

It is essential for children to learn for themselves how to use periods of unstructured time, as this not only allows for unstructured play and creativity, but it also helps develop time management skills.

7. Question things in the right way.

We should all have the confidence to question things, even as children. Learning that adults are not always right is a valuable lesson for kids to learn. The key is learning to do it in a way which is polite and respectful.

8. Hard work and practice.

In my opinion, developing the mindset of trying your hardest, and doing your best is a skill that will help you succeed throughout your life. Even in tasks that we don't immediately excel in, practice makes all the difference. Kids need to learn that you can do almost anything, if you’re willing to work really, really hard at it.

9. To take responsibility for their health and hygiene.

As a nurse, I have always found it frustrating how many people refuse to take ownership of their own health, referring to the medical profession for the mildest ailment. Of course, if you feel you are seriously ill, you should seek medical advice, but it is important that we take responsibility for our own bodies, and this, I believe, starts in childhood. Teach your kids if they are getting itchy or sore to wash and dry themselves properly. If they feel tired and run down to take time out, and rest. Our bodies are our home - learning to listen to them, and care for them is an essential part of taking responsibility for oneself.

10. To take responsibility for their Safety.

Children face challenging situations every day at home, at school, online, and out and about. We cant, as parents, always be there to protect and guide them. Teaching kids the skills of assessing situations, and how and when to seek help, teaches critical thinking and equips them with invaluable knowledge - one simple exercise you can try as a family is to talk through a 'what would you do if...' scenario together, perhaps once a week over a family meal.

11. Learn to swim.

Around 400 people needlessly drown in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. (Royal Life Saving Society UK)

All kids should learn to swim. As well as it helping them to maintain their safety around water, swimming is a brilliant all-round exercise.

12. First Aid.

Medical emergencies and dangerous situations can happen at any time, and as kids become more independent ,there is more chance of them coming across a situation without an adult there to take the lead.

First aid training can literally save people’s lives and there are many other benefits to learning it - learning to assess a situation and maintain your own and others safety, increased knowledge of how the body works and maintaining health, and the confidence that learning a new skill develops.Β First Aid for Free offer an online First Aid course which is free to everyone.

13. Cook.

Everyone should be able to cook, and nutrition is fundamental to our health. Cooking is not only fun, but it teaches us to follow directions, maths and science skills, motor skills, as well as helping us learn the basis of good nutrition, time management and money management - it seems daft not to learn!

14. Tie a knot.

Tying up gates, washing lines, boats, shoe laces, fishing lines, your brother (don't do this, you get in trouble!) and making dens - there must be thousands of times when you need a knot. All kids should learn to tie them.

15. Write a letter.

Emails, texts and communicating through social media means that we no longer write letters so often, and many believe that it's becoming a dying art. There are still times, however, when writing a letter is appropriate, and its important to have the skills to hand for when the need arises.

Thank you letters may seem like a waste of time to kids, but to our older generation they represent respect, contact and good manners, and are a joy to receive. Do your kids understand that this is why we ask them to write them?

16. Read a map.

Exploration is a huge part of human nature. The skill of reading a map not only allows you to know where you are, and see where you are going, but also allows you to put your surroundings in context - opening your eyes up to the bigger picture. Studying a map is a pleasure, as well as fabulous exercise for your brain, and they document our past as well as our present.

17. How to use tools/sew/fix/iron/make a cup of tea/light a fire.

Kids are extremely capable, much more so than we give them credit for. It's a fact of life today, that we live in a busy world, and it is often much faster to do tasks ourselves as parents, than watch our toddlers spend half an hour peeling a potato. There is also the concern of safety - I have injured myself on an iron, making a cup of tea, hammering... in fact on all the things I am suggesting kids should be doing. Those injuries I sustained through childhood made me more careful and learn to carry out those tasks, and use those tools properly.

18. How to approach animals.

Young kids seem to be instinctively drawn to animals, and it is important to teach them to approach with respect and care. They should be taught to always ask the owners, before approaching someone's pet. It will not only help keep them safe, but also educate them on how to treat animals for life.

19. Managing money.

We have all heard stories of adults spending beyond their means, and getting into financial difficulty. Money management is a crucial skill needed in today's society, and on that basis, it is crucial that kids get the opportunity to develop the skill. Encouraging kids to portion their money, spending some, while setting some aside, gives them the opportunity to start practising this skill.

20 . Road safety.

Worldwide, an estimated 1.2 million people are killed in road crashes each year and as many as 50 million are injured. (World Health Organisation)

Kids need to know how dangerous roads are. They need to learn how to behave around them, and as they get older, on them. Teaching kids an awareness of what is going on in their surroundings is vital for their safety, and there are plenty of online resources to help facilitate this.

This is not an exhaustive list, but they are all skills and lessons that I believe are essential for kids to learn. I would love to hear if you agree, disagree and what you would add to it - please leave a comment and let me know.

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  • Reply Kids of the Wild

    This is a really thoughtful set of guidelines for parenting,

    May 10, 2017 at 8:35 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thank you Lucy. There are, of course, many other things that are important but these are skills I think all kids can benefit from learning πŸ™‚

      May 12, 2017 at 6:09 pm
  • Reply Saira

    Absolutely love your list! My aim as a parent is to teach my smalls to be the best version of themselves that they can be. I have certainly taking on board some aspects of your list and will be implementing them asap!
    Thanks for the great read

    May 9, 2017 at 8:59 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks for your kind comment Saira, and I totally agree with your aim – that’s exactly how I see our role as parents πŸ™‚

      May 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm
  • Reply Patty

    Excellent List. I like, not only the taking responsibility part but also the trying to see were others are coming from or to understand them. We can’t shelter ourselves or our kids any more. Knowledge is protection too.
    your co host
    Patty from the Pinterest Game

    May 1, 2016 at 10:03 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thank you Patty, I think its so important to learn to consider other peoples views – so many people just look inwards πŸ™‚

      May 6, 2016 at 9:58 pm
  • Reply Krista

    Really great list. Number 2 jumped out at me. I think unfortunately less and less our children are taught to take responsibility for their actions. Resulting in them becoming adults that blame everyone else for EVERYTHING! Instead of standing on their own two feet.

    April 29, 2016 at 2:28 pm
  • Reply MMT

    I couldn;t agree more – some great things on the list. I taught my 4 year old how to dial 999 last week. Starting her young with some lifesaving skills!
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

    April 28, 2016 at 9:50 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      That’s such a good idea MMT, it’s another thing that is easily over-looked πŸ™‚

      May 1, 2016 at 11:10 am
  • Reply laura dove

    This is such a great list!! So many things that I had never actually sat and thought of, I have saved this amongst my favourites. #coolmumclub

    April 28, 2016 at 5:21 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Laura, many of them are really simple, but I think that its sometimes the simple things that we overlook πŸ™‚

      May 1, 2016 at 11:08 am
  • Reply Agent Spitback

    This is a great list! As my children are older, I can really see the value of what you have listed! Learning to deal with disappointment and taking responsibility and ownership are so crucial to a healthy self image. Though I must cry at the inclusion of swimming on your list – sadly I agree but it is a nightmare with my youngest. Almost as if I am making him do homework!!! Thanks for linking with #PasstheSauce
    Agent Spitback recently posted…“Pass the Sauce” Week 1My Profile

    April 14, 2016 at 12:29 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Swimming lessons are tricky – both mine have been through various reluctant stages, it really can be a nightmare x

      April 14, 2016 at 9:22 pm
  • Reply Carly aka Mummy

    What a well thought out list. I like to think Ido a lot of these things now but some will become more important as my kids get older. #passthesauce

    April 12, 2016 at 2:18 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Carly. I’m sure there’s plenty of other things that could be added, but it does get you thinking about what are the skills we all need πŸ™‚

      April 14, 2016 at 9:04 pm
  • Reply Anna Brophy

    Loads of things to consider. Hopefully much of this list is role modeled…but so much to be aware of in our homes. Thanks for the ideas. #passthesauce

    April 12, 2016 at 11:46 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      You are right Anna, many of these things we teach without even thinking about it, and of course we all have different views on what is important. Thanks for popping by πŸ™‚

      April 12, 2016 at 12:45 pm
  • Reply Starr

    I love this list and will be sharing it with my hubby and my 2 girls! You are spot on with your suggestions!

    March 29, 2016 at 12:34 pm
  • Reply Brittany Putman

    I’m not a parent yet but I love reading all these great tips. Children have so much to learn and parents just have to do what they can.

    March 28, 2016 at 3:37 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks for visiting, Brittany, and taking the time to comment. You are absolutely right, all we can do is our best πŸ™‚

      March 28, 2016 at 8:23 pm
  • Reply Christina

    Great ideas! I especially love the part about handling boredom. That is SO important! It’s so easy to just throw activities at our kids to keep their hands busy but they need to keep their minds busy too! Learning to solve their own boredom does just that! Looking forward to getting to know you better through your writing!

    March 28, 2016 at 3:31 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thank you Christina, I have just been reading your great list πŸ™‚ Boredom is such an important thing to experience – I am sure a great many awesome ideas have resulted from people having the opportunity to just think πŸ™‚

      March 28, 2016 at 8:28 pm
  • Reply Cristina at Ava's Alphabet

    Great list! Wow, parenting is a big responsibility, isn’t it? Basic skills are just as important as the big life stuff. Your post has such a nice balance of each. I love it!

    March 28, 2016 at 3:05 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It really is, Cristina πŸ™‚ I’m a great advocate of learning the basic skills – I certainly have no plans of cooking and cleaning for them forever!

      March 28, 2016 at 8:31 pm
  • Reply Su {Ethan & Evelyn}

    This is a great list. I still need to teach Ethan how to tie a knot. Thank you for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost I have pinned this under “motherhood”. Hope you don’t mind. πŸ™‚

    March 17, 2016 at 6:06 pm
  • Reply Sapana

    a perfect list. Most challenging I find is: teaching my kids dealing with disappointment. My elder son last year won medals on sports day, this year nothing. He was so much disappointed. he wanted me to buy him a medal. It took me 2-3 days to make him understand meaning of loss and win. and much efforts matter more than winning.
    Sapana recently posted…How to Make Applesauce for BabyMy Profile

    March 17, 2016 at 2:52 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I agree disappointment is a really difficult lesson to learn, and teach. Thanks for visiting us πŸ™‚

      March 24, 2016 at 1:25 pm
  • Reply Nikki Frank-Hamilton

    Sarah, this is the most incredible list! I’m not sure which one I like best, but I do love that you encourage your kids to know themselves, respect themselves and others. I think our kids are so busy nowadays that they don’t learn who they are, what they like, and who they want to be known as. The other traits or lessons that you have listed; cooking, cleaning, and other household chores are must-haves. I’m amazed at how many of my daughters friends come over and don’t even know how to put their dish in the dishwasher, or pick up their pop can and put it in the garbage. I would like my kids to be self-sufficient, as much as possible, so I don’t have to worry about them as much. That to me is love. I can see that it is to you too, and your kids are very lucky to have you as their mom.
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…Strong Foundation. Does your blog have one?My Profile

    March 15, 2016 at 12:03 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thank you, Nikki πŸ™‚ I’m a great believer in practical skills, and am so grateful to my Mum for what she taught me as a child. I Like food too much, it’d be a disaster if I couldn’t cook lol. I also believe that both sons and daughters need the full range of skills – long gone are the days of the woman doing it all!

      March 15, 2016 at 8:24 pm
  • Reply georgina prince (was Davies)

    I think a huge one is just taking responsibility for everything they do as well as hygiene, their actions, health, work everything really! x

    March 14, 2016 at 10:01 pm
  • Reply Mudpie Fridays

    This is a great list and you have some on here I wouldn’t have thought about like read a map for example – probably because I was never taught it as a child myself. Today Monkey has passed his first swimming class and is moving onto the next band its something Hubby and I are passionate about him learning xx
    Mudpie Fridays recently posted…My Pregnancy – Weeks 29 & 30 with Antiphospholipid SyndromeMy Profile

    March 13, 2016 at 11:06 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Well done, Monkey πŸ™‚ Swimming is definitely such an important skill to learn x

      March 15, 2016 at 8:27 pm
  • Reply Elizabeth

    I think you just summed up our roles as a parent perfectly! What a fantastic collection of things we should teach our kids!
    Elizabeth recently posted…An Epic Adventure to the Summit of Ben Nevis – The PlansMy Profile

    March 13, 2016 at 6:57 pm
  • Reply Yvonne

    Advice can be overwhelming at times when you are a parent. I think you have summed up the things you need to teach them perfectly. #FabFridayPost x
    Yvonne recently posted…Now: Twenty Years, Many TearsMy Profile

    March 13, 2016 at 7:56 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      There is so much advice out there, and I agree it can get really overwhelming – especially when it seems to change all the time!

      March 15, 2016 at 8:29 pm
  • Reply Educating Roversi

    Great list. It all boils down to respect, resilience, responsibility and safety in my eyes. #FabFridayPost
    Educating Roversi recently posted…Happy 1st Birthday to my blog!My Profile

    March 12, 2016 at 5:34 pm
  • Reply Leah Miller

    Such a fantastic and important post. I agree with all of it, but especially teaching them to learn disappointment, we had a real struggle teaching my son this, when playing games, or being let down by friends etc, it is such an important thing for them to understand though. No one likes disappointment, but unfortunately it is a part of life!
    Leah Miller recently posted…The Breville Blend Active Blender – This Mornings Delights!My Profile

    March 12, 2016 at 4:13 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It so is, and I agree it’s a really hard lesson to learn, particularly in today’s society of always trying to praise them x

      March 15, 2016 at 8:31 pm
  • Reply Mary-the boondocks blog

    Lot’s of great ideas and very practical things as well. And some of which I did not sit down to teach my kids. Maybe it’s not too late.
    Mary-the boondocks blog recently posted…A Nest for My Rustic Eggs – Μια Φωλιά Ξ³ΞΉΞ± τα Χωριάτικα  ΑυγάMy Profile

    March 11, 2016 at 8:16 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Mary, got visions of you giving your grown-up kids lessons on learning to take turns now lol

      March 15, 2016 at 8:34 pm
  • Reply Cheryl

    A great list! Some really thought provoking ones in here (I like the one about treating your body like a home and learning to respond to what it needs!) Thanks for sharing. #BrillBlogPost
    Cheryl recently posted…Questions to Ask At Parents’ EveningMy Profile

    March 11, 2016 at 7:37 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Cheryl. Taking responsibility for your health is something that doesn’t always occur to people – we’re all to used to relying on doctors nowadays!

      March 15, 2016 at 8:37 pm
  • Reply Celeste

    I love this list, such great information.
    Celeste recently posted…Vegan Stuffed AvocadoMy Profile

    March 11, 2016 at 5:43 am
  • Reply Celesre

    This is an awesome post, I love all of these.
    Celesre recently posted…Vegan Stuffed AvocadoMy Profile

    March 11, 2016 at 12:17 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It will be interesting to see what other people would add to it – I’m hoping that I’ll get a few suggestions πŸ™‚

      March 11, 2016 at 6:43 pm
  • Reply Megan - truly madly kids

    Great post – number 6 is so very true!

    March 10, 2016 at 10:12 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Boredom is so important isn’t it? Think its hard for kids to switch off and chill out nowadays, but its so important in my view πŸ™‚

      March 11, 2016 at 6:45 pm
  • Reply Life as Mum

    This is a fab list and I agree with all x
    Life as Mum recently posted…FOUR LITTLE MONKEYS JUMPING IN THE PUDDLESMy Profile

    March 10, 2016 at 1:43 pm
  • Reply Fiona

    Totally agree with all of these. Some of the more practical points in your list are covered by Scouts. My son has benefited no end by going to Beavers, then Cubs and soon on to Scouts. As well as the practical skills that he learns, it instills confidence in his own abilities which is a brilliant thing. #brillblogposts
    Fiona recently posted…Screens – It’s Time to Turn it offMy Profile

    March 10, 2016 at 10:12 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Scouts and similar organisations are fab – we love forest school too. You are right they really help build confidence πŸ™‚

      March 11, 2016 at 6:50 pm
  • Reply Emma

    I agree with all those, and I love the fact that she’s learning all of them either with me or with cubs and scouts.
    Emma recently posted…#TreasuredMoments 09/03/16My Profile

    March 9, 2016 at 9:09 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I must have been commenting on your post literally as you were on mine, Emma. While I was commenting, I was thinking how you’d probably hate this post with the coloured text and small print – thank you for taking the time to read it, and I’ll be giving more thought to my layout from now on x

      March 9, 2016 at 9:17 pm

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