When I used to work long hours, all I could think about was how much I missed my kids. Spending more time with them was my biggest driving force to reach financial independence. But now that I’ve hit my early retirement and am stuck at home with my kids due to Covid-19, I have a new problem. What am I supposed to do with my kids all day?
I tried to emulate what other stay-at-home parents do, but it felt exhausting to try and come up with kid-friendly activities and schedules every day. And then I read this inspirational quote (by Sally Hogshead):
“You don’t have to change who you are, you have to become more of who you are”
And it hit me. I don’t need to look for an endless supply of activities. If I involve my kids in my own passions, everyone’s day will be better and I can just fit some lessons into something taht starts off as fun!
So here are three things I’ll be teaching my kids this summer:
1 – Life Skills with Board Games
I’ve always been into board games. They let you get your competitive bugs out of your system without getting too serious. OK fine, sometimes I get very driven to win. Although not against my kids :)
Recently, I got into Sequence and Rummikub with our kids. The rules and strategies are easy to pick up for the kids but you do have to think and plan in order to win which keeps my wife and I entertained.
It’s the hallmark of a good game for the family. Multiple levels of thinking. Like you get in Pixar movies. Some jokes for the kids and some for the adults. Family board games are the same, some thoughts for the kids and some for the adults. Everyone has a good time.
Now, playing these with my kids is fun but I realized board games teach some serious life skills. Think about it. You get to teach your kids about:
- Following instructions
- Taking turns
- Strategy and thinking ahead
If your kids were great at following instructions wouldn’t that be a dream?
And I can teach that while having fun as a family!? Harrah!
But not only that, my kids are practicing staying focused on a goal, they’re finding out about healthy competition, and they’re learning about teamwork!
(And as a bonus, I can enjoy my coffee at the same time! Now that’s luxury.)
2 – Financial literacy with Candy
“No daddy, let’s save our money for something bigger.” ~ my 3 year old’s financial literacy on display in the cookie aisle.
Okay, so something about me – I’m a little obsessed with teaching my kids about money. More than anything, I want them to save money. It’s the secret skill that really sets financially successful people apart in the world and I want my kids to have that leg up.
No easy task, but I think I’ve cracked the code:
Our kitchen is a makeshift candy store. It’s also a candy-oriented bank.
Every day our kids get a coin. Then they get a choice. They can spend it on a single candy, or they can save it. The longer they save, the more awesome their reward and we help out by doubling saved money daily.
(For example, one nickel gets you a smartie, but three nickels gets you a whole chocolate bar).
It was a little hard to motivate my kids to save at first, so I got my wife in on the action. (I’m sure she liked that.) She immediately saved for the giant chocolate egg and devoured most of it (she did share a little). That got the message across!
But it’s not just about money. They’re learning about delayed gratification. They’re learning about setting goals and about pursuing them even when it’s hard. It’s not easy to have that smartie stare you in the face while thinking about tomorrow, that’s why I’m so proud of them for making the smarter choice and then let them fully indulge in their well-deserved box of candy once they’ve stretched that delayed gratification muscle.
Even better, when they show off their savings prowess at the store, my finance-dad heart practically explodes with pride.
3 – Healthy Habits with Fitness
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with fitness. I like being fit and my gym had cheap child care which was the best thing ever, but otherwise, I never enjoyed trying to fit fitness into my day.
It shouldn’t be so hard but with little kids around, I feel like I’m stealing precious moments away from them to go spinning.
And then it hit me. I can work out with them! And not only that, I can start teaching my kids that it’s important to take time to take care of yourself and to make fitness a priority.
So what does working out with little kids look like?
- We take them on runs with a stroller. Then to keep them going we pretend to run out of energy and need them to yell motivational messages like “You can do it!” to re-energize us.
- We let them play around us and join in while we stretch outside after the run. Although their antics usually end up with me on the floor tickling them.
- We stream dance or yoga classes together.
- We use them as weights for squats, hip thrusts, and push-ups, which is WAY too hard but it’s fun for everyone!
And the lessons they’re learning reach even farther than healthy habits! They’re learning that it’s important to keep working every day to improve yourself and push when things get hard.
Overall, if they can successfully learn all those skills I will give myself a big pat on the back…and maybe a drink too. Fun learning is still hard work!
Now that you know what I’m teaching my kids, tell us what lessons have you been teaching your kids lately?