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6 Things Every Child Should Experience

Updated on July 20, 2016

1. Learn To Swim

Teaching your children how to swim will give them a sense of accomplishment, confidence in the water, open the world of aquatic sports to them, and give you peace of mind. No kid should ever grow up fearful of walking on a dock or playing near a friend's backyard swimming pool because of their inability to swim. Participating in water sports together can be a sweet bonding time for your family.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages one to four. In the United States, there are 10 drownings a day. Sadly, many of these needless fatalities could be avoided if everyone had a basic level of aquatic safety skills and followed all boating laws and procedures.


2. Take A Trip Abroad

What better way for history, economics, and politics to come alive than for your children to experience the world firsthand. They will be exposed to different languages, monetary systems, modes of transportation, religions, cultures, cuisines, architecture, and political systems in a way that textbooks can't compete.

It's easy for kids to grow up thinking that their culture's way of doing things is superior to the nations around them. Thanks to globalization, they can no longer grow up with a narrow view of the world. They will be forced to ask hard ethical and moral questions when interacting within the global theater. Traveling through other cultures can help show them that just because something is done differently, doesn't necessarily make it wrong or inadequate. It will help them form a world view from experience and not from politically motivated media sources.

It's never too early to start prepping for Harvard
It's never too early to start prepping for Harvard | Source

3. Explore Colleges And Careers

Exploring possible careers and education pathways with your children will help them to be able to set concrete goals and formulate a realistic plan of action.

One of the simplest ways to expose them to different colleges is to take day trips to local campuses and make it a point to tour campuses near your vacation destinations. Once they are in high school and have narrowed their choices down to a couple of schools they are hoping to apply to, take them on a trip to see those specific campuses in detail.

Tip: Most campuses offer structured tours and visitor activities like dorm sleepovers and cuisine taste testing.

In terms of helping them discover career choices, encourage them to explore their strengths and aspirations. Expose them to everything. Take them to plays, museums, science learning centers, volunteer activities, and sporting events.

The world is full of possibilities and your job is to make sure that they have seen as many options as possible. It might be a sacrifice, but if they are interested and committed, funding science camp, acting classes, or driving them to their police cadet training will exponentially set them up for success.

College And Career Resources

  1. My College Future: Information on colleges, careers, and entrance tips.
  2. Princeton Review: Prep for entrance tests, find colleges, and find a tutor
  3. Kids.Gov: A government website tailored to kids. Has tons of information on careers, sports, the arts, how the government works, and creating healthy habits.

Ideas For Getting Your Kids Oudoors

  1. Join a scouting troop
  2. Send them to summer camp
  3. Go day hiking at a local park
  4. Take a backpacking course together
  5. Set up a tent in the backyard

4. Explore The Wilderness

Every child deserves to spend a few nights sleeping out under the stars, fishing, roasting marshmallows, and hiking up rivers. Unfortunately, with most kids growing up in urban environments, they are getting less exposure to nature and simple backcountry living. It good for them to unplug from their devices and enjoy good old natural entertainment like star gazing, wood whittling, and watching sunsets.

No kid should ever grow up without knowing how to start a fire, navigate with a compass, and look after themselves in the wilderness. Teach them how to survive without modern conveniences, so that they have the necessary skills to survive a natural disaster or a wrong turn on a day hike.

5. Learn Money Handling Skills

With our world in a perpetual financial crisis, teaching your children to responsibly handle their money will both benefit them personally, as well as society as a whole. Playing with a toy cash register, letting them hand the cashier the proper amount, and rewarding them with allowance for doing their chores are an excellent start.

As soon as you begin paying them an allowance, help them set aside a small amount for long term savings. Along the way, helping them to save for larger purchases can teach them delayed gratification, self-control, and the value of hard work.

As they enter their teen years, teach them about investing by opening a brokerage account, putting money into a CD, or playing mock investment games.

On their 18th birthday, there is no better gift you can give them than to help them open a retirement account. The consequences of not starting young are enormous. Young adults are endowed with the best commodity of them all: time. Waiting to save for retirement can cost them the potential of having an extra several hundred thousand dollars by retirement. Saving in small increments, from a young age, allows compounding interest to turn them into millionaires fairly simply.

Please do this country a favor and teach them that credit cards have one sole purpose, to build them a credit score. That score is their financial resume for every large purchase they will make: a car, a boat, investment property, or a house. Do everything within your power to teach them to live within their financial limits and protect their credit score like it's a resume.

6. Feel Unconditionally Loved

Every child should be raised in a home where they are cared for and feel safe. They should be encouraged in their pursuits and unconditionally loved when they fail. Kids who feel loved, respected, and secure are more likely to turn into happy and productive members of society

School violence, drug addiction, teen pregnancy, bullying, and youth gang activity are the outcome of both improper parenting, bad personal choices, and unhappy homes. Kids growing up in broken homes, parents using and abusing substances, and domestic violence receive scars that may take decades to bandage, and may never fully heal.

Please go home and give a little extra love to your children. Even simple gestures like spending time together reading a book or asking about their day can make a huge difference in their self-confidence.

What Do You Wish Your Parents Had Exposed You To?

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© 2013 Jennifer Arnett


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