10 Key Life Skills to Teach Your Child

10 Basic Life Skills for Children

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Children need to adapt to a fast-changing world. It is the parents’ duty to prepare their kids to have a smooth transition and provide training of basic life skills to help them achieve this. It makes children ready for all new challenges in life. The life skills we will be talking about in this article will help your child do just that and more!

Video: 10 Basic Life Skills to Teach Your Kids

10 Life Skills to Teach Your Kids

The present generation of parents tends to be too protective of their kids. This inhibits the child from learning skills that could come handy when he moves out into the world. Listed here are some vital life skills that your kids must develop to become self-dependent.

1. Prepare a Meal

Most schools, these days, have culinary skill classes as it is a very handy life skill. Nowadays, the family system is moving to a nuclear set-up, and most kids have both parents working. It is, therefore, essential for them to learn some safe and quick meal preparation methods.

Preschool kids (3 to 5 years of age) can learn basic measuring techniques and how to add cheese, butter, or jam to toast, how to peel a boiled egg, etc. Older kids between the ages 6 to 8 years can use non-fire kitchen appliances to fix a meal for themselves.

Appliances such as microwave ovens and toasters have made cooking easier and safer for children these days. However, it is important that parents guide them thoroughly and supervise them initially till they can confidently use them. Use of appropriate utensils, tools, and kitchenware such as mittens, napkins, tongs, etc. should be taught for them to be safe while they cook up something for themselves in their parents’ absence.

Basic knife skills such as cutting, chopping, grating and slicing can be taught when kids are in their pre-teen years. Again, supervision is essential for you don’t want your kids to get hurt. Also, ensure kids don’t rush through while chopping the vegetables. Parents must encourage their children to be careful and enjoy the process, too.

2. Do Laundry

Kids above ten years of age are ready to help you with household laundry routine. Some basic machine operations can be taught to them. Even younger kids can help you with laundry by doing simple tasks, such as collecting the laundry clothes in the hamper, separating the whites from the colours, or folding small towels and napkins. It is never too late to start with some laundry routine at home.

3. Wake-up Independently

We are the alarm-clocks for our children. We are also their backup plans. Inadvertently, we are the ones to instil this hope in them that come-what-may, we are there to watch their backs. Is this helping them grow, or is it hampering their growth? Sometimes stepping back and letting them figure their routines is a big step towards their independence.

Allowing children to set their alarm clocks and wake up on time, without any help seems like a big task, but they will get there eventually. Driving them to school if they wake up late or finding excuses to justify their late mornings is a big NO. We must let them face reality and allow them to experience the consequences of their choices. The sense of time and discipline is a fundamental requirement for a healthy and productive life.

4. Pack Their Things

Children, from a very young age, get used to parents packing their bags, whether it is their school bags, sleepover bags and even their picnic bags. Everything that goes into the bag is decided by the parents and put-in by the parents. This habit is not very good as the child, even after growing up, is unaware of what to carry for what occasions. They become forgetful when they become adults and might need constant reminders or help to pack up. Things such as forgetting office files or essential documents on business trips can be quite inconvenient. The early cultivation of packing their bags can make them independent and responsible adults.

5. Commute on Their Own Using Public Transport

Most parents are never ready to send their children alone on public transport like buses or the metro. They are too scared that the kids might lose their way. However, kids must learn to use public transport systems after a certain age, whether parents like it or not. Therefore they must be taught to read and decipher maps, understand signs boards, know and remember landmarks, or even safely talk to strangers, so they can learn to navigate the road on their own.

You may begin teaching your child these important life skills by the age of ten. However, ensure you take a step at a time and are with your child till he gets used to the new routine. Remember that children need some time to adapt, and eventually, they will, but for safety reasons, parents must be absolutely sure that their kids know and remember what they were taught.

Child travelling alone

6. Restaurant Etiquette

Restaurant etiquette should be taught to children as soon as they reach middle school (11 to 14 years). It is important that children learn to order food and do so respectfully and politely. Introduce them to the menu, and encourage them to read from it and place the order.

Kids with allergies need to be aware of the foods they need to avoid. Therefore, when they learn to place orders, ensure they also check for the ingredients to avoid allergic reactions. Also, parents must stress enough on being kind, considerate and polite; encourage them to use ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ when they place their orders.

You may not have to do this all the time, but for your kids to get used to budgeting, you may also set an amount and request them to choose a dish well within the budget. 

Their table etiquette, too, should involve eating without creating a mess or causing any public disturbance. When children grow older and dine-out with friends and colleagues, this skill will speak volumes about their personality and upbringing.

You may also touch upon safety precautions such as being aware of the surroundings, not talking about personal matters, never sharing confidential information at public places, and taking care of the belongings, such as jackets, wallets, and backpacks.

7. Take Care of Another Living Being

Kids love pets. But, at what age are they ready to handle that responsibility? The best pets for toddlers are fish or birds. Only at the age of 7 years or above are children prepared to handle the responsibility of cats and dogs. The best way to start teaching them to be responsible with another living-thing is, to begin with, plants (gardening).

Also, before adopting one, parents must know if their kids are allergic to pets. Signs such as sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, watery eyes, itchy or red eyes, etc. upon coming in contact with pets denote pet allergy. Parents must get their kids tested and choose an alternative to teach this life skill if they actually are allergic to pets.

Babysitting or taking care of siblings without adult supervision should not be encouraged before the child is at least 12 years old.

8. Manage Money

Kids are never allowed to manage finances at home. It is a myth that they must learn when they start earning their own money. This belief is often misplaced. They can always begin to learn to spend their pocket money wisely. You can educate them about comparing prices before making a purchase. You can also explain how some simple banking works so that they can save as well.

9. Do Grocery Shopping

Parents do not allow their kids out of their sight at the grocery store as there is a considerable risk of them going missing. However, these days grocery stores are well arranged and labelled and are also monitored through CCTV cameras. It is okay to allow children to explore and shop for themselves.

9 to 10 years of age is a good time to teach kids to shop for groceries. Of course, they cannot be sent all alone to the grocery store one fine day; they have to transition slowly and learn the skill step by step. Parents can start taking their kids along for grocery shopping and when the time is right, request them to get something from a different aisle. They can and should observe their children and provide any guidance or even tips as necessary. 

Parents can continue accompanying their children and supervising them till they are comfortable and confident. Kids aged 14 to 16 years are usually able to go grocery shopping alone if they are introduced to it by age 9 or 10.

10. Plan an Outing

Planning an outing

This is a huge task for teenagers as it involves taking into consideration unforeseen circumstances. Choosing a place, getting parents to do the pick-ups and drops, buying stuff, ensuring the safety of others are tasks that must be completed for a successful trip. They might not get a perfect ten the first time, but they will learn as they progress. It is a joy to see a child working meticulously to plan an outing.

Parenting is not an easy task, but it is a journey that both children and parents take together. We have to allow children to make mistakes so that they learn from them. These life skills make them better human beings, too!

Also Read: Safety Rules for Kids at School

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