First put down your phone. Really.
Anyone born before the 80's knows that you really can have a summer without having a phone attached to your ear or palm. We survived. We had to be creative! We also survived all those 'horrific' events of bug bites, poison ivy, seeing snakes, catching frogs, trips in the back of station wagon or pick up truck, discovering swimming holes, learning how to dive into mucky waters, card games, board games, Jarts(!), Kick the Can, numerous bikes (without motors), dragging our butts home bleeding from falls, jumps, and dares where a bunch of bandages, grilled cheese and tomato soup cured the pain . . .
Its 2016. "New Kids" have little idea how much true freedom and independence that 'we' had. Looking back we were rarely supervised! I don't know about my peers but my parents never 'played' with me. They took us places - but it was basic: church, scouts, store, and friend's house -when they were actually home and able to! We never felt 'scheduled'. We didn't have non-stop 'practices' or strict schedules to maintain to fit multiple activities in a day. In my world there was the 'late bus' - that allowed for 'after school' activities but if that wasn't available - you didn't go - no one did. In the summer I was more privileged than I ever realized at the time - because I got to go to 'scout camp' and 'away camp' - I never saw it as a vacation from me by my parents . . . I saw it as what I did every summer. I loved it. I laugh now how we spent the 2 weeks SINGING . . . non-stop . . .every where. Silly stuff. We didn't have portable music. We were the music. Everywhere we went we sang. . . how many kids do that now? Seriously. They all have ear buds or face down in cell phone screens.
So what do you do with 'the kids' in this day and age of technology plugged into their heads?
Get them outside. Get them away. Get them thinking, exploring, debating, curious, understanding. Pick a subject they WANT to explore. School requires them to memorize - use summer to let them explore alternatives.
Start with Skill Building of Life Skills.
We tend to worry about kids knowing academic subjects but do they know HOW to manage themselves in LIFE? Seriously.
These are the 7 Areas of "Life Skills" that an 18 year old should be capable and ready to do:
Able to independently
manage a household/apartment/home including:
Creating a safe –clean – desirable place to live
Know how to plan/manage groceries, food preparation, serve
meals to others
Able to trouble shoot home/appliance repairs
Able to Plan/coordinate/budget for a trip out of area
Able to drive in new location – navigate through unknown
Able to complete a move of a residence that includes
coordination of others, planning, organizing and setting up new residence.
Manage hook-ups/installation of services
Able to independently
Manage multiple bank accounts: checking, savings,
investments without penalties/fees
Able to locate/ read and monitor Credit report and
understand important elements
Able to read/apply and manage loans and contracts
Able to handle sales situations that include negotiation,
bidding, and deposits/down payments.
Able to hire an attorney
Able to submit proper tax forms and pay accordingly.
Pay bills on time – budget accordingly
Knows and understands basics of Investments, Retirement
funding, Mortgage documents.
Knows and has initiated Insurance products including: Car,
Health, Life, Liability, Specialty
Social and Civic
Able to consider
the needs of others – sensitive to moods-intentions and motivations of
Have stable moods and good self-esteem
Can manage rejection and defeat yet still rise above
negative experience with insight of lessons learned.
Capable to participate in church/civic/volunteer
Able to run for a political office or participate in
Possess adult level social skills- able to communicate
Can conduct presentations – communicating ideas clearly
that educates/motivates audience
Has skills that are a valuable asset to the organization
Can apply skills learned from formal education
Gets along with others in both team and as an individual
Able to ask for help, ask questions as well as help and
Takes initiative to complete tasks
Contributes daily to successful operation of organization
Able to read and follow directions without
Ready for a
Know own value system and looking for a partner who has
Able to participate with effort, understanding and
gratitude in a relationship with another person long term.
Able to manage rejection, end of a relationship and move
Care/Nutrition/Mental Health care System
Able to schedule
and keep appropriate appointments for healthcare including annual prevention,
follow up testing, consults, and specialists.
Able to afford co-pays, basic costs and premiums as
Has researched and selected proper health insurance
If qualifies, has investigated and used government
programs to reduce health care insurance premiums and costs.
Familiar with own health care basic numbers
How to read a food label.
Able to initiate conversations with health care providers regarding
future treatment, advice/guidance on how to manage diagnosis, implementation
of medical management that may include: medications, physical exercise,
nutrition/diet, rehabilitation, meeting attendance, follow up individual
Has a Plan for long
Legal protection of assets
for children’s future needs: education, transportation, weddings, housing.
Start with a 'check off list' with your family - even adults may not know some of these elements. Schedule meetings during their 'off' time with Insurance agents, bankers, attorneys, employers, and healthcare providers to allow them to meet and become educated. Expose them to a variety of professions and professionals. Explore their interests or encourage them to design a plan to build their skills. These elements can be truly life changing. I have witnessed young people who were petrified to start college, move away or start careers because they believed that they would fail in these basic scenarios. Too often parents step in and 'take care of it' - leaving the young person to distrust their own competency or ability to do it on their own. They begin to internalize the 'They think I'm too stupid' or 'I am clueless and will fail' - and this intensifies anxiety - that many use both prescriptions or illegal drugs to 'manage'.
So I'll keep this short - go through the list and work with your family to build 'life skills' -so that you're armed for the challenges it hands you - not blindsided.