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With increasingly heavy courseloads—especially when it comes to homework—the average student spends the bulk of their weekdays learning.

Even so, many of them are missing out on the practical vocational skills that could help them later in life. With parents less likely to let kids figure things out and fend for themselves, kids may not have opportunities to develop the knowledge they need.

If you’re worried about teaching kids the skills that will put them on the path toward independence, here are five you should absolutely consider.

1. Dialing 911

In general, safety is one of many functional skills parents don’t think to instill in their kids, but it’s one that should be taught early on. Your children should know the number to reach emergency services, as well as when they should use it. They should also understand the most important information they need to give the person who answers the phone.

To help them practice this life skill, you may want to role play with a play phone, or even present a few scenarios to have them guess which one warrants an emergency call and which one doesn’t.

2. How to Manage Their Money

Many students leave high school with no idea how to manage their money, even as they enter college. Money management is a vital life and homeschooling skill, so make sure to set aside time to teach your kids while you can.

Take your kids on errands with them, show them how to pay bills, and let them come with you to the bank. Explain the basic principles of saving and debt, and take them to open a bank account once they’re old enough to be responsible for it. You can even give them an allowance to help them learn to budget.

3. Cooking and Nutrition

We all have to eat—and at the basis of this need is our understanding of what we’re putting into our mouth. Your kids should know how to do basic grocery shopping (in line with their budget from money management training, of course) and how to stock a home with nutritious foods. They should also be able to prepare age-appropriate meals and create healthy meal plans.

4. Critical Thinking

Common sense is lacking these days, especially in an age of “fake news.” When adults take sensational information at face value, it can be problematic—so teach your kids to approach things with a more critical eye.

For younger kids, critical thinking can start with fun puzzles, riddles, and mysteries. As kids grow, teach them to think critically about the messages in the books they’re reading or shows they’re watching. Help them understand things like the concept of bias, and encourage them to form their own opinions on the content they consume.

5. Time Management

This skill is difficult for even adults to master, so it’s a good idea to help kids work on this from a young age. Give them a little control to pick certain aspects of their schedule, and help them create to-do lists for the things they need to complete during the day. This can lead to discussions of routines and task prioritization as well.

Start Teaching Practical and Vocational Skills Today

There’s no better time to start teaching your kids the vocational skills they need to know. Even if you’ve missed out on teaching them essential skills during their younger years, it’s critical to instill these practical skills while they’re under your roof, rather than letting your kids learn the hard way once they set foot in the real world. With the knowledge above, they’ll be better equipped to tackle more of life’s challenges, big and small.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our other posts for more of the tips you need to keep your family safe and well educated!

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