As parents, we often focus on educational skills, forgetting the importance of life skills. A study found how 58 per cent of 5-year-olds in the UK knew how to navigate a smartphone, contrary to 15 per cent who could make a sandwich. Whether a toddler, teenager or an adult – life skills are something that helps us thrive throughout our lifetime. However, most parents feel that their kids are not old enough to learn life skills. The more you slacken, the less prepared are your kids to handle real-world situations.
In this fast-paced world where everyone runs against time and each other to reach the top, do not wait for your kids to be teenagers to teach them life skills. It is high time you go beyond educational courses to train your kids on practical life skills to be up and about in today’s high-tech world. Remember that the goal is to prepare our children and not the path for them. So, utilize this time to educate your kids to be more responsible and generous and better humans.
On that note, here are some life skills to get started on and teach your pre-schooler.
Every child must know how to make good decisions to take over serious life problems head-on. Start by letting them choose between strawberry and chocolate ice cream, or painting and reading. Take it a step ahead by giving them the prerogative to choose what they want to wear after taking a shower. This will help your kids differentiate between good and bad decisions based on the consequences before reaching elementary school.
You can use this guide on the steps of decision making to train your kids about evaluating the pros and cons of an issue, weighing in options, and making the final call.
Health and hygiene
As the pandemic rages on, we have understood the importance of healthy and hygienic habits. So, make sure your kids cultivate healthy and hygienic habits from a very young age. Instead of ordering your kids to brush their teeth, take a shower or wash their hands often, give them the reasons behind the habits.
After you have explained the significance of health and hygiene, set up a to-do list where they can tick off each task they complete. What initially starts as an endeavour to check off a list will turn into healthy habits over time. Soon, your kids will take every measure as second nature without you having to remind them.
If you do not want your children to come to you every other day, saying, “Can you write my paper?” upskill your kids by teaching them about time management. This will help the younger one measure time, stay on track and abide by a schedule to complete everyday chores and school tasks in lesser time.
Start by setting a stopwatch and telling them to do a task within a particular period. The task can be anything – taking a shower, getting dressed or colouring something. Another thing to do before moving on to time management skills to teach your child how to tell time perfectly by an analogue watch.
Preparing a simple meal
If you want to prepare your child to survive in the almost-apocalyptic world, teach them the value of a full stomach. Once they know the importance of nutrition, teach them how to make a simple meal. You can tell them to help you in the kitchen. Start by cutting bananas, whisking an egg, or sealing dumplings using a fork.
Or, you can make it a weekend ritual for your kids to make you a sandwich every Saturday. You can encourage them to make dishes that do not require the use of flame. A yoghurt bowl with fresh fruits, or squeezing fresh orange juice – such simple tasks can help them learn a lot.
Using the Web wisely
With kids spending more screen time than ever, it is necessary to teach your kids about navigating the digital world safely. Therefore, you must ask your children to cultivate certain practices when they can use technology:
Teach them to create passwords that are hard to guess so no one can crack them.
Teach them the importance of online privacy and why they should not give out personal information such as the home address, phone number, etc.
Train them to detect fishy people and connect with only the ones they know in real life.
To know the limit and understand what to post and what not to, since anything they publish virtually will be there forever.
Here is a guide for parents to monitor the online footprint of their children.
Doing the laundry
As trivial as it may sound, doing laundry is a mix of several skills. I know so many teenagers who have moved to college away from home with zero knowledge of cleaning their clothes. If you want your child to grow up to be responsible and independent, start giving laundry lessons to them when they are around 6.
Tell them to accompany you when you do the laundry. Say how you start the machine, sort the clothes, measure the detergent, and choose the settings out loud every time. Soon, your kids will know the process like the back of their hands. You can also step away for a while and ask them to monitor the wash to give them practical training.
Sooner or later, every kid will leave for college, where they will have to clean a room of their own. Start with age-appropriate chores like making the bed, dusting and cleaning surfaces, emptying the dishwasher and folding washed clothes.
Also, train your kids to clean the mess they make every day. For example, let your child clean the spilt milk on the kitchen counter after having breakfast. After they have played around in a day, tell them kids sort and store their toys in a basket. You can also ask them to organise their study space and cupboards.
Treating a wound
Children are bound to fall and bruise themselves often. You certainly cannot restrict every movement of theirs. However, what you can do is teach them how to tend to a wound, so they don’t freak out when they see blood. Every time they come back from the playground with slight bruises, do not do the stereotypical and kiss their boo-boos away.
Instead, teach them to treat a cut or a bleeding scraping. Tell them what to use and how to do it – using a clean cloth press and pressing it firmly on the bruise until the bleeding stops. Let them have the first-hand experience so that they can tend to a friend’s bruise as well. Inform them about which antibiotic ointment to use, how to cover it with a band-aid or gauze and tape.
Even before your children learn science and math, and history, their life skills will help them imbibe better and achieve their goals. So, do not limit them to school lessons. Take out time from your busy schedule and train your kids to be better versions of themselves with every passing day.
Here’s to the hope that our kids grow up to be the beacon of hope and usher in a better world as they grow up!