Children grow up quicker than we realise and most, especially those leaving care, are still heavily dependent on support from the adults around them.
Here’s how parents and children can work together towards the child’s successful adult life.
Children learn most through play and interaction.
Ages 0-5: Keep a box of their favourite or new toys and books as the rewards for every time they learn a life skill. Make learning a game and fun to do.
If they don’t achieve the goal you had for them don’t give rewards until till they do otherwise they will not see the treat as a reward but take it for granted.
Ages 5-11: Start a token rewards system which they can swap for pocket money on payday. They can be rewarded for doing homework, housework, going to the shop for household items. This will give them a sense of self worth which in turn make them strive more towards independence, especially if you make it fun like racing to finish first. Think of how payday feels.
Teach them to recognise and control their emotions such as stress and anger from this age, to help them through their biological changes coming up. Suggest ways they can relax and work through their challenges. You can reward them for achieving this too.
11-16 year olds are now working towards GCSE so depending on what career or further studies they have in mind reward them with days in/out with their peers for the homework that leads to their goal.
Give them jobs that would give them the skills to enter their chosen field e.g. a little DIY. One boy I know wanted to design computer games for a career and had made a game at the age of 15 on his home computer and was playing it. Someone interested in computers would need art, maths and English with high scores to work towards their goal. Reward the homework in the relevant subject area and get them to design leaflets to share or even sell their product interests, to develop their chosen skill.
Have them go to, or create a club in their subject area. Interest motivates people to achieve their goals.
Use their interest to establish independence. An example would be buying and selling from home, e.g. computer games. This would teach them budgeting, time management, & social networking.
Open a bank account where they can have full control over their savings, and suggest voluntary weekend jobs that interest them.
The general idea is to develop their responsibility and life skills through their area of interest, as this will keep them motivated. The more independence they learn the less stress you and they will have when they flee the nest.