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Home Economic Skills You Should Teach Your Kids

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Today, it’s all about the home economics skills you should teach your kids. It’s not the sole responsibility of your children’s school to prepare them for life and all the basic skills they’ll need when they grow up. So many children are homeschooled these days, but even so, we must teach our kids and grandkids as many of these skills as we can.

Home Economic Skills You Should Teach Your Kids

It’s our job as parents to prepare them for life’s challenges too. That way you can rest and put your mind at ease, knowing that they can manage and survive their first semester away from home one day. Keep reading to discover home economic skills you should teach your kids. 

Besides, most of what is taught in schools these days is based on theory and things that are written down, and little time is spent learning hands-on home economic skills. I felt I needed to update this post from some years ago since having kids who can be self-sufficient is more important than ever in our changing world.

Home Economic Skills You Should Teach Your Kids 

At some point in their education, your child will more than likely take some form of home economics, but this way you can prepare them ahead of the game. I’m also sure that some lessons that you teach your kids will never be presented to them in the classroom.

That could mean your child might struggle in these areas when you thought that the school had it covered. Here are several home economic skills that you should teach your kids.    

Cooking Skills

Cooking Home Economics

It’s probably not a surprise that cooking skills are number one on our list, and this one is not just for your daughter. This way, your children are not relying on a microwave to cook all of their meals each day.

Plus, it will give you a break if you have them prepare dinner every now and then. Be sure to teach them about meal planning, and how to shop accordingly, instead of buying impulsively at the grocery store.

They need to learn that cooking meals means more than Snack ramen or a peanut butter and jam sandwich. Fixing a meal with various ingredients and entree options can really be fun. Doing it right can also take a little time.

Being organized and using time management to their advantage is a great skill worth learning. It can also prompt some creative thinking skills as they blend foods during different occasions and times of the year.  

Nutrition

Health and Nutrition

As we get older, it doesn’t take long for our bad eating habits to catch up with us. Teach your kids the importance of eating healthy and how to enjoy a balanced diet. They need to learn what a balanced diet means as they plan meals with fruits, veggies, protein sources, and even healthier desserts.

It’s amazing how much information is included on product labels now. From the various ingredients, the calorie counts, and the daily equivalents for the nutrients we all need each day. They should learn what those numbers mean and how to get the most nutrition for each dollar spent.

Sewing

Home Economic Skills You Should Teach Your Kids

You might not be gifted with sewing something extravagant, but I bet you could teach them the basics of sewing with no problem. Show them how to patch a hole and replace a button when their clothing starts to unravel a bit as they learn some problem-solving skills. 

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When my kids were young I made most of their clothes. That skill came from my time in high school and the classes I took. I’m afraid sewing as an important life skill has become a lost art. I have so many fond memories of clothes I’ve made for myself and my kids. Don’t miss out on that blessing for you and your kids.  

Housekeeping

Home Economic Skills You Should Teach Your Kids

It’s also important to teach your kids about housekeeping as well. That way their wife or husband won’t find them to be complete slobs. They’ll have a basic understanding of what needs to be done and how best to do it.

My least favorite job around the house is dusting. Thank goodness Mark learned that skill and seems to enjoy completing that chore each Saturday morning.

Start when they are at a young age while having them sweep the floors, use a dishwasher, vacuum carpets, and take out the trash. They should also learn how to scrub the toilet and pick up after themselves, among other common chores. 

In today’s environment, it’s more than just having things clean. They need to be sanitary as we try to reduce various health risks at home and at work. It’s also important to learn to clean up after yourself by picking up toys, games, and clothes in their rooms.

Bathrooms are breeding grounds for bacteria. Even preschoolers need to understand the need for personal hygiene skills beyond teeth brushing and deodorant application.

Gardening

Gardening tools and a straw hat on the grass in the garden

There’s not much else in life that’s as rewarding as being able to have a garden. We learn to grow, harvest, and enjoy delicious fruits and vegetables out of our very own garden. Pass your green thumb skills on to your kids. 

As you teach the kids about meal prep and nutrition, what a great opportunity to apply practical essential life skills. That includes planting, growing, and harvesting products from your own garden. Tieing together the aspects of being self-sufficient, along with proper nutrition, is a natural growth in responsible behavior.

Spending time together in the garden can be a strong bonding experience in daily family life. It can also prompt some critical thinking on the kids’ part. They learn planting techniques, water and fertilizer applications, and the care required when pruning and harvesting at the right times. It also helps build self-esteem as they see a positive result from their hard work.

While you’re at it, teach the kids how to safely mow the lawn, rake the leaves, and sweep or hose off the patio.

Laundry

Laundry Home Economics

Knowing how to do laundry is also a basic skill that a kid needs to know. They need to learn the difference between a hot or cold wash cycle and when to use each. It’s important to understand what detergent and fabric softener works best for various fabrics.

They also need to pay close attention to tags that are found on apparel and what they say about their care. Also, they need to know not to mix their white clothing with their colored items. 

Doing laundry is one of the important household job skills that shouldn’t take too much adult supervision. The kids need to be introduced to a hamper and know it isn’t just for show. Dirty clothes actually get dropped in there when soiled or sweaty.

A washing machine is a handy appliance that saves time and effort when used on a consistent basis. When teamed with a dryer, the two are miracle workers.

It also helps to show them how to fold or hang up clothes so they stay smooth, wrinkle-free, and ready to wear. Laundry also includes the chore of washing the bed sheets and pillowcases at least weekly. Set up a regular schedule they can follow so it doesn’t conflict with others needing to do their own laundry chores.

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Home Maintenance

Home Economic Skills You Should Teach Your Kids

Teaching your kids about home maintenance can save them a ton of money, and you from having to run over to fix things that are falling apart in their homes one day.

Kids are never too young to learn from mom or dad when they see you working on something that needs to be replaced or repaired. Whatever the project may be, whether it’s fixing a toilet, cleaning a clogged drain, or repairing a wall that needs to be patched, grab your kids and have them help you.    

It’s also good to show them how to work the breaker box, where the water line shutoff valve is, where the water softener salt goes, and how to change the air filter in your home’s furnace and air conditioning systems.

Money Management Skills

Checkbooks and calculator

Money management skills are huge and are barely covered in school. Online banking and other financial apps have made it much easier for us these days. It’s still imperative that you teach your children about balancing a checkbook, setting aside some savings, and how investment funds work. Using credit cards wisely, and creating and sticking with a budget are also needed skills.

Taking Care of Pets

It may not qualify for home economics class consideration, but learning how to care for others, including pets is a great skill to incorporate into your kids’ training. Pets need to be fed, exercised, trained, and loved, just like we do. It has also been shown that having a pet, whether we’re young or old, helps us maintain our mental health.

Kids can learn how the real world works when they have to care for others. That attitude can carry over to the workforce later on and become a great resource as they learn new social skills as adults. Leadership skills include the ability to empathize and look out for coworkers and employees when the time comes.

Please Don’t Enable Your Family

It’s easy to hand out cash or write a check to bail out family members, but it’s not teaching them to be self-reliant. It’s almost like saying to them, “Here’s some cash or a check because you don’t know how to take care of yourself.”

Of course, we would never say that, but there are so many people who have come to me complaining about how they have to bail out their kids financially. These are grown kids, my friends, this is what I tell people, “Turn off the ATM”, as in your bank account.

If they’re going to a trade school or college, we may have to help them a little until they get on their feet, so to speak. Mark worked two jobs to get through college, it was not easy but we didn’t want student loans, not sure they had them back in the 1970s anyway.

Final Word

These are a handful of home economic skills that will prove priceless to your kids one day. They’ll certainly look back and remember that it was you who did the teaching training and took the time to teach them how to perform those important tasks that now come naturally to them.

Now that you know which home economic skills you should teach your kids, how do you plan to start the training, and which skills would you add? May God bless this world, Linda

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Copyright Images: House with fence Deposit photos_2561318_s-2019, Sewing Notions Deposit photos_58866509_s-2019, Gardening Deposit photos_19545683_s-2019, Home Maintenance Depositphotos_19370957_s-2019, Laundry Depositphotos_146172641_s-2019, Health Depositphotos_47935385_s-2019, Checkbook Depositphotos_6297955_s-2019, Cleaning Depositphotos_52712019_s-2019, Cooking Depositphotos_159130506_s-2019, Baking Ingredients Depositphotos_41325873_S by Bit245

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22 Comments

  1. As a certified Home Economist/educator I heartily applaud your efforts. Currently, Home Economics Education has almost completely left the curricular arena in lieu of the push towards math and sciences education. While those studies are very important in today’s world,so is the ability to lead a healthy,well-ordered life with emphasis on physical and psychological health and well-being and financial stability for individuals and families. Home Economics is not just cooking and sewing,but also financial theory , architecture , child development ,interpersonal relations , family dynamics , art and design and the ever present chemistry, biology, micro- biology, physiology ,psychology and crisis management. That list includes many,but not all, of the areas of study within the field of Home Economics. In our current state of crisis in the world right now, I should think some of the skills developed that pertain to the areas studied within our field might come in handy.

    1. Hi Ellen, thank you for your kind words. I totally agree more needs to be added to the list. I’m very concerned that a few families are not able or even see the need to teach several of the items on either list. It’s really too bad because what they learn at home and at school will help launch them into adulthood. I know a lot of families homeschool, I applaud them. But I have noticed a few homeschooling mothers do not know how to spell. I’m not being judgmental, I’m just concerned how does a mother who is homeschooling who can’t spell correctly, teach their kids? The only place I have seen this is on Facebook. I shudder every time. I don’t want this to come across as petty, I’m just concerned. Linda

  2. When my daughter went into high school (she graduated in 2004) I was very disappointed that she was not going to have home economics like I did! They had a class called Paths – they were able to choose what they wanted to learn: sewing and cooking were 2 of the choices that I encouraged my daughter to take. I still have the quilt that she made and she had instruction on cooking that I was not able to teach her because I was working full time just to support her!

    There are also other things that I wish were taught in schools that aren’t, such as financial classes – how to balance a checking account, basic investing; shop (I was able to take shop in high school) that teaches basic tool knowledge; home repair; car maintenance. Gardening would be a good one to teach as well – not everyone has the luxury of learning gardening from parents.

    Wow – I think I could go on!!

    Love your posts, Linda!

    1. Hi Leanne, I wondered when they stopped doing Home Economics. There are so many things the youth of today could learn from those classes. Here’s the deal sometimes kids will listen to a teacher they admire more than listening to mom sometimes. Yes, they listen to us, but you know what I mean. Stay well, stay safe, girlfriend! Linda

  3. I love all of these on this list. Of course, more could always be added, but this is a really good baseline!

  4. Linda,
    Just a note for you and your readers. Marjorie Wildcraft has her 4th Annual Homegrown Food Summit starting May 4th. The Summit features 35 presentations on gardening, livestock, herbal remedies over 7 days and includes many bonus items. This year there are a couple of presentations focused on container gardening. The Summit is free, or lifetime access can be purchased.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the Homegrown Food Summit each year, have learned a lot about becoming more self sufficient, as well as better ways to grow fruits and veggies, improve garden soil, improve pastures for the goats, encourage earthworms in our soil.

    A search online for Marjorie Wildcraft and The Homegrown Food Summit should get to the link to sign up.

    1. HI Deborah, oh this is a good one! It’s funny I did a little research on the size of plates and even the silverware. Plates used to be smaller and so did the forks. I didn’t realize the silverware until my friend was having dinner at my home and I had just replaced my silverware because my old set was missing so many pieces. She said to me, can I have the small fork (the salad one) because the regular forks seem like the size of a pitchfork. She was right, I hadn’t even noticed it. I got the giggles and now we only use the salad size ones. Even the restaurants serve enough for two people. Great reminder, good one. Linda

      1. I’m having to redo all of my eating. Well, as soon as I find out what I need I need to eat and not eat. From what I’ve read, there’s not a lot I can eat. LOL Chronic Kidney Disease, stage 3b is it for the faint hearted. I know I have to limit protein, phosphorus, and sodium. Gotta find out what has phosphorus in it.

        1. Hi Deborah, oh my gosh, that would be so hard, my sweet friend. I get the salt, I’m not a doctor, I need to research phosphorus, I hope they give you a list that is palatable. Hugs, Linda

  5. This is one of my pet peeves no one knows how to do anything anymore. Then they complain about the cost of food or whatever. Making your own dinners is not only cheaper, it is more nutritious. Sending clothes to the cleaners is a waste of money in many cases. Gardening gets you fresh food without additives. We have become helpless, by choice.

    1. Hi Janet, I have to agree with you, so many people in my neighborhood eat out every single day. I taught a class in the local church, they asked me to teach some women on how to make bread. LOL! Only one lady took the recipe, and she was the woman who asked me to teach the class. LOL! I guess they have no interest in making bread. My friend Melissa Richardson wrote the book on “Natural Yeast”, she had a booth at Costco, no one bought one book. They walked back and picked up a loaf of bread. No interest in making bread. It’s really a shame. Dry cleaning clothes is so expensive. YIKES! I buy clothes that do not need to be dry cleaned other than Marks’ suit for church. Gardening is such a blessing to all of us, now if we can convince the world….Linda

      1. I don’t think most people will figure it out, until they have health or money problems. Hopefully, they will learn then. Bread costs about $4 in a store. I make it for around $1. I know what is in it. I can’t imagine not doing my laundry. Everyone alive should know how to do that.

        1. HI Janet, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comment! I refuse to buy bread when I can make it so cheap. I got the giggles over your statement “Everyone alive should know how to do that (as in laundry)”. Funny, not funny, but oh so true! You are right they will quickly learn how to do things when they have limited funds or health issues. Linda

  6. Linda, I firmly believe all children should be required to take home ec classes. Everyone should know how to mend clothing, cook, clean and balance a checkbook. And speaking of that last–teach your kids how to do basic math in their heads. It’ll help them learn to think, and they may not always have calculators and computers if TSHTF. Such basic skills are part and parcel of what Robert Heinlein would term a well-rounded human being.

    1. Hi Ray, I like the term a well-rounded human being. Nailed it, Robert Heinlein. I think they are bringing back Home Economics and Car Maintenance, as well as Wood Working to some Utah schools, it used to be the norm. But not anymore. It’s the little things like mend clothing, cooking, cleaning, and for sure how to balance a checkbook. Great comment as always, my friend! Linda

  7. Home Ec. is more important now. The way the world is headed, we all need to have basic skills and teach them to the up coming generations. My kids have lots of skills; in fact, all of these, and we are teaching them to the grandkids now.

    1. Hi Paula, I totally agree, I’m not sure they added Home Economics back in all the schools in Utah yet. It’s really sad, everyone needs the skills they teach, that’s for sure. Linda

  8. I learned all of these skills and more between my parents and 4H. I would suggest a couple more that I learned. Some additional skills, I find necessary are basic carpentry, basic auto and tire maintenance and the relationship between bank accounts and the cash taken from the ATM’s. It’s amazing how many people have no realization that what they take out through the machines, is actually coming from their accounts. I’m not sure if as part of teaching cooking and nutrition, you mentioned how to setup grocery lists, shopping for groceries the best way, and how to tell when coupons and sales are really good. I know you teach inventory for prepping, but even a non Prepper needs to maintain an inventory of what food is in their kitchen, so they can make meals if they need to from what’s on hand, and replace items used frequently when they run out. Your monthly stickup lists are valuable for planning Prepper quantities of foods, but the average shopper can use them for kitchen shelf and freezer stocking. I know I can rebuild my shelf stock in the Summer and Fall when our energy bills are lower, and bigger meat sales tend to happen in the Fall during slaughter season. Shopping after major holidays can save money, and fresh produce in season is freshest, and usually cheapest. Grocery shopping is a whole life skill in itself. One final gift to make a child after teaching them cooking is a good, basic, all purpose cookbook. My preference is the All Purpose Good HouseKeeping Cookbook. It’s designed and written for inexperienced cooks. Recipes with ingredients that are readily available and simple step by step instructions for making the dish. It has chapters on all the major ingredients, with introductory simple explanations of all the major methods of preparations.There are even some informational chapters on terminology, definitions, glossaries, some shopping ideas, a section on cooking and baking ware, menu planning and specialty cooking techniques like barbecuing. In short, everything to become an accomplished basic cook. They produce specialty cookbooks on many different specialty styles of cooking. The print is larger, easier to read when using. My Mother taught me how to cook using her own edition and her Mother’s addition. I bought my own 1973 edition, so I now have all 3 editions that are the first source I turn to for information and inspiration. I taught my husband how to cook with them. While we use internet recipes too, they are the backbones of cooking in this house. Teaching and the tools to use the life skills taught, are easily the most valuable gifts, parents can give to their children.

    1. Hi MaryAnn, oh, The Good Housekeeping Cookbook and The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbooks were my go to cookbooks when I got married. I had already used them when growing up because my mom had both of them. I will have to look at see what edition I have, they are all in the storage unit until our home is done. Everyone needs to know how to stock a pantry, that’s why I share so many different ones. I hope it helps those getting started and those who think, “wait I need that item”, life is good when we know how to cook. Great comment, Linda

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