It is quite common for kids to be unable to handle real-world situations until they’re in high school or even college. A recent study by the online security company AVG Technologies found that while 58 percent of 3- to 5-year-olds in the U.S. can navigate a smartphone, fewer than one out of six (15 percent) could make their own breakfast.
Life skills are valuable practical lessons your child will need and will use throughout their lifetime. Don’t say your child is too young to understand; children are more capable than we realize.
Start teaching these life skills now, build on each lesson as your children grow and put them on the right path toward independence.
1. Time Management
Learning how to manage time is of great importance to personal life, family and career success. Don’t skip teaching your child this life skill. Teach him how to measure time, do chores or homework with a schedule and get up on time. Your child will be grateful for this skill in the future.
Many kids get sent off to college without knowing how to do their laundry or even clean their own room. Your toddler can wash simple items like a sock or a handkerchief, it’s a very exciting activity for them at this stage. They will also have fun sorting clothes by color and understanding textures. As they grow older, they can learn to put clothes into the washer and operate the washing machine. Elementary school kids know how to operate almost any kind of phone and laptop, operating a washing machine isn’t even as complicated as some phones. You should also show them how to fold their clothes. Teaching your children how to do laundry will ease you off too many chores too.
Making good decisions can be very difficult even for adults. Help your child understand how to weigh options and make a final decision. They can start with choosing the flavour of Ice cream or cake, the colour of socks to wear or a bedtime story. Teach them the rewards of making good decisions and the consequences of making a bad one.
One way we can help children understand what it means to give is to teach them the importance of sharing. Simply sharing their toys or story books with other children is enough to teach them. Do your children see you helping neighbors, giving to charity, or donating items to needy people?
5. Basic First Aid
Kids play all the time and sometimes they get hurt in the process. Teach your child not to freak out when she sees blood from an injury. She can learn a simple first aid plan for when you’re not around: Apply pressure until the bleeding stops, rinse the cut with clean water, dab on some antiseptic or antibiotic ointment and then apply a bandage.
It’s never too early to teach a child about the importance of money and how to manage it wisely. Even adults have trouble with managing money, so giving your child money lessons isn’t far fetched at all. As they learn basic Math, they should also be taught how to calculate money, spend wisely, save and make change. You can pay your child for a chore well done or for completing a project so they can learn that you can earn money without putting some work in.
Can your 4 year old navigate the way to your house on his own if he ever has to? Teach your child how to navigate by having him lead the way home sometimes when you go for a walk. Let him hunt for treasures around the house or track his path around the park or zoo with an easy-to-read map.
8. Preparing Simple Meals
Preschoolers can learn how to make simple sandwiches with jam or peanut butter. They can also pour milk into a bowl of cereal and have breakfast they prepared themselves. As they grow older, they can learn to meal prep with you and soon learn how to cook a simple meal on the stove with your supervision.
9. Cleaning and Hygiene
Inculcating healthy habits in kids is a life skill that will do them a lot of good now and in the years to come. Let your kids know why it’s important to brush their teeth, have their bathes, wash their hands and wear clean clothes. Teach them how to clean the bathroom with little steps. They should also learn to do the dishes on their own and throw out the trash as they grow older.