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Toronto, Canada

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Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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Five Lessons my Kids Need More than Homework

Written by Melissa Robertson

Our writer shares the lessons she actually feels her daughter needs to learn.

For parents, the school year schedule is more than just packing lunches and busy mornings. It also includes dreaded nightly chore that is designed to torture both parents and children.


For some, this is a painless exercise designed to teach personal responsibility, time management and the ability to knock out busy work. For children with ADHD and their parents, it is an activity that can take up the better part of an evening and result in frustration on both sides.

As we settle in the groove of another school year, I find myself wondering what better lessons I could be teaching my daughter instead of filling out the math sheet or learning the spelling list.

After all, she will likely grow to rely on spell check and a calculator, but what lessons can she only learn from her parents?

A love for nature

Rather than spend our afternoon battling over homework at the dining room table, let’s take a walk outside and explore the world around us. Spending time outdoors has the ability to improve short-term memory, immune function, reduce stress, and inspire a love for the natural world.

Bad weather doesn’t have to slow down your efforts, an appreciation for the natural world can be inspired indoors by cultivating your own plants and food. By choosing to grow your own herbs and vegetables, organic healthy options are as close as your window ledge or you could take it one step further with a cute little greenhouse.  It’s a fairly inexpensive hobby and by using online gardening exchanges you can easily produce a healthy variety to feed your family. 

A love for the kitchen

Speaking of feeding the family, instead of hitting the school books, taking a moment to research and prepare a healthy meal is an activity that could have a lasting impression on my daughter’s life. By exercising control over her diet she could be more likely to try different healthy options and learn how to cook different foods. Spending time cooking and following a recipe would allow for lessons in measurement, reading and time management. Check out our Pinterest board for family-friendly recipes to try with your little ones!

While waiting for the timer to ding, there is a great opportunity for my child to take it one step further and learn how to pack herself a healthy lunch.

Not only is she learning the importance of choosing healthy choices, she is also gaining life skills that will last a lifetime.

Check out this cute thermos, which is perfect for packing healthy leftovers for school.

A love for a clean space

Choosing to make homemade recipes over processed ready-made options can result in a large clean-up. By leaning into my daughter’s natural inclination to help, along with her growing sense of family responsibility, I can teach my daughter the importance of keeping a clean home.

While I certainly don’t expect my child to become Cinderella, learning to keep a clean room and perform regular chores to contribute to our family, are important life skills she will need as an adult.

My daughter, perhaps due to her ADHD, or just her unique personality, tends to lose things and be generally unorganized. Taking time each day to organize her room and do simple chores will also help her to combat this challenge.

A love for a good budget

Along with learning practical life skills, cooking and cleaning also allow an important lesson in money management. Whether my daughter was to receive an allowance for services rendered or simply choose to spend her afternoons selling lemonade or walking dogs, learning to manage money is an important life lesson.

By earning her own money, she would have the ability to save for all those ‘extras’ that she has to have every time we hit the local store.

By working and saving for the latest toy, she will understand the value of money. She can also begin to appreciate how hard her parents work to afford all those ‘must-have items’ she may otherwise take for granted.

A love for recycling

Earning her own money and managing a small budget, my daughter will get an opportunity to learn an important lesson in recycling: everything costs less second-hand.

A small amount of pocket money would go a lot further towards a second-hand toy rather than a big box store.

She can also learn to repurpose items in order to come to the same result. For example, my daughter and I recently refinished a set of chairs that were destined for the garbage bin. Instead of spending potentially hundreds of dollars, we used hard work and some paint to give these items a fresh look.

My daughter is happy to have one of these trendy chairs residing in her room. An item she would not have if she did not help with this project.

In the end, every parent needs to decide for themselves what values and lessons they want to impress on their children. Let us know in the comments what you hope to teach your little ones.

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