When your children reach the age where they can live on their own, it is an exciting time. However, it is also a time of much learning and anxiety. Living on your own is much different from living with mom and dad. You don't have someone there to do your laundry, get you up each morning, manage your spending habits and more. These are things you must do on your own. Here are some more things to consider when your child decides to move away from home.
Children learn to live on their own while they are living with their parents. If parents don't take the time to teach their children how to survive on their own, these children will be at a large disadvantage. I've known many individuals who had never cleaned a bathroom, balanced a checkbook or even knew how to boil an egg when they first moved from their parent's home. Unfortunately, these parents missed numerous opportunities to prepare their children for success.
If you still have children at home, not all is lost. Even if it seems you have years before your children move away, you can still offer them guidance for living away from home.
1. Establish independent living habits yourself
If you are guilty of grabbing fast food every night for dinner, never cleaning a bathroom, or throwing your budget out the window, your children will, as well. You are the biggest example in your children's lives. They pick up on your habits, whether they are good or bad. For example, if you are not much of a housecleaner, your children will accept a cluttered and filthy home as normal. They will not learn to appreciate a clean living space.
Take some time and make a list of all the habits you want your children to establish. A few of these habits may include:
Maintain a savings account.
Eat healthy food and make exercise a regular part of the day.
Maintain a clutter-free home.
Pray and read scriptures daily.
Wake up and go to sleep at reasonable times.
After you have established your list, look through and see where you can improve. Do all you can to improve your weaker areas and strive to help your children realize the importance of these habits in their lives.
2. Start while young
You should start teaching your children independent living habits while they are young. You may feel like you have plenty of time before they move out, but as they get older they won't spend as much time at home, with you or the family. Start while you have their attention.
3. Don't do everything for them
Many parents, myself included, often feel it is easier to accomplish tasks ourselves than have our children do it. Whether it is cleaning, cooking a meal, budgeting, etc., we don't have the time or patience for our children to accomplish the task. In addition, we may have high expectations for when the task is complete. When we take over for our kids, we are doing more harm than good. We are not letting them truly learn and become valuable members of society.
4. Work with them
Your children won't learn unless you show them. You need to work closely with your children to teach them specific tasks. As you teach your children different chores or ask them to do chores around your home, work next to them and show them how you accomplish the task. They will never learn if they are not properly instructed.
The real world is a scary place, and we each need all the help we can get. Prepare your children for living on their own by helping them establish independent habits early in life.