Education doesn’t stop in school. Teaching essential life skills for kids is part of our child-rearing responsibility as parents. And the best time to begin your practical lessons is when they’re still young. Here’s how you can incorporate them into their daily activities to make learning natural, smooth-sailing and fun!
1. How to Make Smart Decisions
Knowing what is right and wrong or making choices is perhaps one of the most crucial parts of their life skills training. When the kids grow older, they’ll encounter several crossroads: choosing a university, taking a career path, meeting a life partner. It’s then essential that they know how to weigh their options before making a life decision.
Of course, work and commitment will have to come later! So, for now, practice by making them choose between books and games or fruit and candy. Once they reach school age, options will become more complex. At this point, you can explain the pros and cons of things, but make sure to leave the decision-making to them. This way, they’ll remember the benefit or consequence of their decisions.
2. How to Stay Healthy and Safe
You or your children’s teachers will not always be there to protect them. So, knowing how to stay healthy and be out of harm’s way are crucial life skills for kids. During your training, explain why they need to learn certain things to reinforce retention. For instance, if you ask them to eat more veggies, let them know its health benefits. Here are other examples:
- Teach them about personal hygiene. Make a checklist of healthy habits: brushing their teeth, washing their hands, taking a bath and more. Keep reminding them until these become second nature, and a checklist is no longer necessary.
- Ask them to help out with chores. These include cleaning the house, washing dishes and using the washing machine. An age-appropriate chore list can help you assign tasks to your little ones.
- Train them how to give first aid. Start by attending to tiny cuts and wounds from playtime. Later on, you can explain what common medicines are for and when to take them. Also, post a list of emergency numbers on your fridge so they can call the right people for help.
- Help them develop self-defence skills. These safety skills can build their confidence and support independence, so enrol them on self-defence classes when you can. Online safety measures and handling cybersecurity issues are also timely life skills for kids that they need to know.
3. How to Prep and Cook Meals
Part of staying healthy (and saving money) is learning how to cook, so teach your child how to be confident in the kitchen. You can start with simple sandwiches, salad prep, or bento box lunch. Ask him or her to help out when you’re making breakfast or baking. Later on, show your child how to use some appliances like the blender or microwave. Also, keep your little one involved when making your meal plans or doing meal prep over the weekend.
4. How to Manage Time and Money
Budgeting time and saving money are two valuable life skills for kids. Make sure not to skip these out. Both will help them achieve whatever goals they have later in life. More importantly, these will make them more appreciative of hard work. Here are ways how you can teach kids about money and time:
- Teach them how to use an alarm clock and make schedules. During school days, make it a habit for kids to wake up and go to bed on time. Asking them to set the alarm clock will train them to do these on their own. Also, have them prepare task breakdown lists with time allocations to keep track of schoolwork.
- Instil good money habits to them early on. Set up a system at home that will encourage your kids to save allowances or money gifts. Take them with you when grocery shopping, then use that as an opportunity to teach about budgeting and comparative shopping.
5. How to Interact with Others
We always warn our kids to distance themselves from people they don’t know. But as part of their life skills training, teach them how to interact with good strangers. Find ways how they can make friends with kids their age, like in your neighbourhood or at the park.
Show by example how to talk with respect, in person or online, including people you’re meeting for the first time. Also, foster open communication at home. Listening, speaking and laughing with them will help develop their positive social skills at an early age.
6. How to Apply Intelligent Thinking
There are two types of this life skill. One is perspective-taking, and the other is critical thinking. Problem-solving is not all about doing things right and making the right choices, after all. It’s also about understanding people’s feelings and differences.
So, whenever you can, explain why others get angry or sad on certain occasions. Encourage your kids to put themselves in other people’s shoes to develop open-mindedness. Younger children can develop these emotional skills through role-playing or story-telling.
Critical thinking, on the other hand, is all about information analysis. The kids can learn this skill through board games, outdoor sports or science experiments. Transform playtime into learning life skills for kids to encourage them to express ideas, make intelligent guesses, commit errors and solve problems.
7. How to Tackle Challenges
Life’s full of trials, but our kids can make it through all of them when we teach them about resilience and perseverance. Let them try new things. Encourage the kids to stay positive and try again in times of failure and disappointment. Learning how to be resilient can make them more adaptable to any situation, good or bad.
It’s scary to think about our kids being on their own later in life. But preparing them way ahead will give them (and us parents) that much-needed confidence to handle whatever life throws their way!