Oradell, NJ – When your child starts kindergarten, college and the “real world” probably seem ages away. But those 12 years go quickly, and the preparation for life should begin sooner than later. Eileen Huntington of Huntington Learning Center explains that while school is obviously very important, there are many aptitudes beyond the academic that children will need for college and life. “As a parent, your goal should be to equip your child with life skills that he or she will use forever,” she says. “Academic abilities are essential, but there is so much more that your child needs.”
Huntington offers several tips on how parents can get their children ready for a successful life after high school:
- Teach them basic money management skills. An allowance is a great way to get children to grasp the concept of earning and accumulating money from a young age. Make sure you give your child opportunities to understand the value of money as well. Talk about what it means to earn a living and live within your means. When you go to the grocery store, bring your child along to comparison shop brands and items. Establish a family budget and show your child how you manage your income and expenses to it and save for various things.
- Talk careers early and often. It’s never too early for parents to start asking their children what type of career sound interesting. Encourage your child to talk with the adults in his or her life about how they got to where they are. As your child gets closer to high school, do research together on what strengths (academic and otherwise) might translate into different career possibilities.
- Don’t solve your child’s problems. Life and school have ups and downs. Children need to know how to approach problems methodically and with confidence and optimism. Be there to support your child, but don’t step in and fix problems. Encourage your child to take responsibility and ownership for school—and all that comes with it.
- Teach your child how to think critically. In everyday conversation, parents can teach their children to be curious and inquisitive. Invite your child to share with you how he or she analyzes problems and comes up with a variety of alternate solutions. When your child shows you homework, ask how your child came up with answers and what steps were taken to get there.
- Show your child how to be resourceful. In college and the real world, people are expected to figure things out sometimes. Your child will often be faced with periods of uncertainty and times when he or she is asked to do something completely new. Help your child nurture this ability by encouraging perseverance through challenges and creativity when one attempt is unsuccessful.
“Support your child as a well-rounded person,” says Huntington. “Vital life skills like problem-solving and creativity will take your child further in life than many other things.” For more tips on how to support your child as he or she navigates school and builds independence as a learner and person, call Huntington at 1-800 CAN LEARN.