Teaching valuable life skills to children is an essential step to getting them ready for the future. In addition to preventing them from growing up into teenagers who misplace personal belongings frequently, ask for money every weekend, or eat only microwave food after school, exercising basic life skills will also help your kids to be independent. They will be able to take care of themselves when you are not around — from preparing their own meals, to treating wounds. Here are 12 life skills that every child needs to learn:
1. Basic first-aid
Active children who love to run around are prone to cuts and wounds. Knowing basic first-aid like applying antiseptic and putting on plasters will encourage them to help themselves when you are not around.
2. Simple housechores like hanging shirts and putting away dirty laundry
Take this as an essential organisational skill. Learning to separate dirty clothes from the clean ones and hanging shirts in the closet could train the kids to be organised in the future.
3. Managing Allowance
Teach your little ones the value of money by rewarding them after finishing a house chore. When they want you to buy a particular toy or snack, ask if they have enough cash for it. Besides gaining valuable financial management skill, they will also learn to work towards a goal.
Swimming is possibly one of the most practical life skills to learn for both kids and adults, in a case of emergency near the water. Look up for fun games to play in the pool that can help your children to learn how to float, kick in the water and control his breathing. You can also sign your kids up for swimming classes. Check out our article on how to choose swimming schools for kids here.
5. Anger Management
Instead of telling kids to stop crying, acknowledge their feelings and ask what has bothered them. Teach your children that there are many ways to solve a problem so that they will think creatively in the future rather than getting frustrated over it. Also, implement a house rule where certain behaviours like screaming and throwing toys are not accepted. Pro-social emotional management is a skill that takes awhile to inculcate, but stay patient and your child will grow up to be a person who is in control.
6. Locking The Front Door
Exactly as it sounds, implant a habit of locking the front door when your kids are going in or out of the house. Sounds simple, but it teaches them not to take safety for granted.
7. Time Management
Good time management for kids consist of waking up early, getting ready, and reaching school on time. Train your little ones to manage time by setting a reasonable timeframe to finish a chore or homework and give a reward when they finish on time. If they are overwhelmed, teach them about priorities; like doing homework that is due the earliest first.
Of course, we want our kids to communicate effectively in school, at home, and in other aspects of life. But remember, they are born in the era of hush communication today — texting, emails, gadgets, etc. Kids who are overexposed to technology can be shy and reserved during face-to-face interactions. If that’s the case, patiently them to talk to others by speaking to relatives, ordering food in restaurants, making a purchase and other kinds of public interaction away from smartphones. When they are comfortable to talk to other people, they will not hesitate to socialise in the future.
9. Taking Public Transport
Sooner or later, your kids will have to go to school and home on their own. Teach them how to take the bus or MRT by showing the bus number and the correct route, and remind them to look out for landmarks.
10. Food preparation
Train your children to make simple meals like a sandwich, cereal bowl, and other no-cook food for toddlers. If your kids are old enough to use the stove, teach them how to cook basic food like fried rice, eggs, and pasta. They will learn to make more complicated food along the way, especially if cooking is their interest! Here are some tips we have for you on cooking with kids!
11. Memorising Address and Phone Numbers
A practical life skill every kid should know. One of the easiest ways to cultivate their memory is to print a name card — put down their full name, address, parents’ cell and home phone number. If your child is outside and needs to make a call or take a taxi, it will come in handy!
12. Clean Up Toys After Playtime
Letting your kids put back a toy to where it belongs should be implemented since the age of two or three. Besides training them to be a neat and tidy person, having your children clean up their own toys after playing teaches them to take responsibilities for their actions.
What are other essential life skills you think your kids have to learn?