It’s normal for any parent to want to protect their children and to help them as much as they can. Unfortunately, when we overprotect and coddle our kids, we run the risk of keeping them from learning important life skills.
Remember, child care isn’t just about providing for and protecting your kids, it includes preparing them for the real world.
In this article, we’ll talk about 11 important life skills your kid should learn:
1.Preparing their meal
Many parents seem to neglect the importance of this self-care routine. A study conducted by AVG technologies found that while 58 percent of 3 to 5 year olds can navigate a smartphone, less than one out of six (15 percent) knew how to make their own breakfast.
Teach your child basic routines in the kitchen or let him or her watch you cook family meals.
Once in a while let them prepare their meal, start with a simple breakfast and then teach them to prepare their own lunches for school.
This is not about letting your child cook for himself everyday but more about being confident that he can feed himself if the situation calls for it.
2.Organizing their own stuff
This goes beyond letting your kids organize the stuff in their room but also letting them do a regular inventory of the items they own.
Once or twice a year, join them in sorting out things they’ve outgrown (like clothes, toys and books) and what they want to keep or donate.
You’re achieving two things with this: you are teaching your kids to be more responsible with their personal belongings and you are managing the clutter in your home.
3.Waking themselves on time
Teaching your kids to wake up on their own is one of the first lessons in responsible time management.
Unfortunately, many parents function like human alarm clocks for their children, nagging them to get out of bed and get ready for the day.
This is counterproductive and it teaches your children to be less accountable for their own time and more dependent on you.
Teaching your kids to wake up on time will quite possibly involve more than letting them set their own alarm clock.
You’ll need to teach them to be more disciplined with how they manage their time and activities especially the night before.
4.Doing the laundry
Many kids go to college without a clue on how to properly care for their clothes.
It’s best to start them young, in fact some parents teach their children how to use the washing machine when they are as young as six years old.
Of course, this doesn’t mean leaving them alone to do their laundry.
Let your children join you when you do this chore and break down some tasks for them to work on such as sorting clothes, measuring the detergent or pressing the settings on the machine.
5.Caring for pets
There are many benefits of having a pet at home. Aside from companionship and stress relief, having pets offers an excellent opportunity to teach kids about stewardship and responsibility.
If you have a pet at home or are planning to get one, let your child join in on the pet care process by delegating age-appropriate tasks.
Younger children, for instance, can help with the feeding or cleaning up of feeding trays. Older children can do walks or grooming.
Grocery-shopping lets kids exercise several skills like budgeting, comparing prices and navigating through the aisles at the supermarket.
Take your child with you the next time you buy groceries and let them observe how you do it.
You can also give them small tasks to do like crossing off the grocery list or checking and comparing prices of different brands.
7.Communicating with shop attendants
This doesn’t just include basic manners like saying “please” and “thank you” but also communicating their concerns clearly and respectfully.
The next time your family goes out to eat, encourage your kids to pick food from the menu and order for themselves.
This exercise will not only teach your kids to be independent but also become better communicators.
8.Doing first aid
First aid isn’t just about saving lives, it includes basic skills like recognizing potentially dangerous situations and knowing who to call during emergencies.
Start by teaching your child simple first aid care at home such as treating minor wounds and orient them with the contents of your first aid kit.
Also, give them a list of phone numbers they should call during emergencies.
If you have older kids, consider enrolling them in short first aid courses. These are offered in many organizations like the Red Cross and local health centers.
9.Cleaning the house
Children as young as 10 years old can be asked to help out with most house-cleaning chores.
The next time you general clean the house, let your child participate by cleaning the bathroom, wiping the windows and cleaning the kitchen floor.
You can also cultivate tidiness with simple, day to day tasks like organizing their room, making their bed and cleaning up after themselves after eating and washing the dishes.
Kids who are old enough to drive are old enough to learn about proper car maintenance.
This is the perfect time to teach your kids that being a responsible driver isn’t just about driving skills, it also involves practicing proper road safety and knowing how to maintain a vehicle.
Along with driving lessons, teach your kids how to wash the car, pump gas and do basic car repair like changing a tire.
11.Using and saving money
Allowing your kids to make small money-related decisions at an early age will let them see the basic dynamics of how money works.
Teach your child to budget and track where their money goes especially if you give them a weekly allowance.
Aside from the spending aspect, you should also emphasize the importance of saving and not spending more than they have.
These may seem like simple tasks but beyond their practical purpose, they serve to build confidence in your child.
When you encourage your kids to learn to do things on their own, you are boosting their esteem and empowering them to become more self-reliant and resilient.
- There is no exact age for teaching these skills to your child. It will involve discernment on your part as a parent to decide if your child is ready to do these tasks.
- Your kids might make mistakes from time to time. Be patient and realistic with your expectations. Don’t undermine their progress and keep encouraging them to learn.