Discover the most important life skills your kid should know and ways to incorporate them into your daily routine.
Life skills are valuable lessons kids will use throughout their lifetime. But most kids don’t learn how to handle real-world situations until they are in high school. Don’t wait until your kids are teens to teach them life skills. Get a jump start on teaching practical lessons to your kids right now as they grow.
Here are a few essential life skills to help your kid succeed
- Focus and Self-Control
Kids thrive on schedules, habits, and routines, which not only create a feeling of security but also help kids learn self-control and focus. Talk with your kid about what to expect each day. Organise your home so your kid knows where to put shoes, coats, and personal belongings. We live in a noisy, distraction-filled world, so quiet activities like reading a book, enjoying sensory activities, or completing a puzzle together can help your kid slow down and increase focus.
Thinking about other points of view doesn’t come naturally to most kids, but it can be developed. Discuss characters’ feelings and motivations in the books they read or movies and make observations about how others are feeling.
Kids need personal interactions every day to build healthy social-emotional skills, including the ability to understand and communicate with others. While the pace at which they develop these skills may vary, kids need to learn how to “read” social cues and listen carefully. They must consider what they want to communicate and the most effective way to share it. Just talking with an interested adult can help build these skills. Spend time every day listening and responding to your kid without distractions.
- Making Connections
The more connections we make, the more sense and meaning we make of the world. Simple acts, such as choosing clothes appropriate for the weather, helps them build connections. Point out more abstract connections in life, or from movies and stories.
- Critical Thinking
We live in a complex world in which adults are required to analyse information and make decisions about myriad things every day. One of the best ways to build critical thinking is through rich, open-ended play. Make sure your kid has time each day to play alone or with friends. This play might include taking on roles (pretending to be firefighters or superheroes), building structures, playing board games, or playing games outside, such as tag or hide-and-go-seek. Through play, kids formulate hypotheses, take risks, try out their ideas, make mistakes, and find solutions which are all essential elements in building critical thinking.
- Taking on Challenges
One of the most important traits we can develop in life is that of resilience, being able to take on challenges, bounce back from failure, and keep trying. Kids learn to take on challenges when we create an environment with the right amount of structure not so much as to be limiting, but enough to make them feel safe. Encourage your kid to try new things and allow reasonable risk, such as climbing a tree or riding a bike. Focus more on effort than achievement.
- Self-Directed, Engaged Learning
A child who loves learning becomes an adult who is rarely bored in life. To encourage a love of learning, try to limit television and encourage plenty of reading, play, and open-ended exploration. Model curiosity and enthusiasm for learning in your own life by visiting the library together, keeping craft supplies, making games available, and allowing for some messes at home.
By fostering these simple tips, you can easily help your kid build essential life skills. There are all sorts of life skills – some basic, some fairly complex that kids need to master in order to have social, emotional and practical skills to succeed in life.
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theordore Roosevelt