Life Skills Boot Camp


Enough academics already, let’s focus on life skills….

The summer before my son went away to billet in grade 10, and then again the summer before boarding school, and then the summer before he started university, we joked it was “Life Skills Boot Camp” summer. 

I found so much of his (and our!) focus was on academics that he was missing some basic life skills. I started to talk to other parents, and they agreed. Somehow, we missed some fundamentals as we were shuffling from activity to activity. It often reminds me of a saying in our office: “You don’t know what you aren’t taught.” Although our children can learn, literally, anything on YouTube, sometimes it’s nice to be taught by a real human who genuinely loves you and cares about your well-being. 

So on that note, here’s a fun checklist for quarantine time-passing.  

Teach them how to:

  1. Write a handwritten note and properly fill out an envelope.
  2. Balance a chequebook and about interest.
  3. Jumpstart a car and change a tire.
  4. Iron properly and sew a button.
  5. Clean the washroom. 
  6. Use online bill payment websites and read their statements.
  7. Weed the garden and keep a plant alive. 
  8. Do their laundry (using multiple loads and what doesn’t go in the dryer!)
  9. Understand their taxes.
  10. Make a doctor, dentist and hairdresser’s appointment.
  11. Fill a prescription.
  12. Grocery shop and make three basic breakfast, lunch and dinner items.
  13. Book their own flights, check-in, and pack with just a carry-on.
  14. Make a budget and the basic cost of gas, groceries and pharmacy items.

Make these activities fun and interactive. You can even involve younger siblings and friends. I bet you’ll learn about some new technology or app to make these mundane tasks more fun (I sure did!). Ask your child what they want to learn; I’m always amazed by the things my son comes up with and the ideas he has for better “adulting”. Right now, we are working on how to detail the car and how to remember your mask!

Happy summer!

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