TEACH YOUR CHILD LIFE SKILLS: A How-To Guide
Life Skills – Assuming you are the primary caregiver for your child. You need to attend a very important personal matter in a different town.
You entrust your spouse with the responsibility of taking care of your little one for a day while you attend to the pressing need.
On your return what do you think your spouse would narrate to you about your kid?
Outcome 1: Will he say that childcare is a work in the park. Your kid could go through the entire day with minimal or no assistance. The child was able to carry out basic activities.
Outcome 2: Will he tell you how stressed he was. Because right from waking up, brushing teeth, putting clothes on, coming hair, eating, and all the other things till the time the kid was put back to sleep had to be assisted and taken care of.
How independent do you think your kid is?
If your spouse reply is like the first outcome outline above. Then Congratulations! you have taught your child well all the basic needed life skills.
However, if yes spouse reply yes in the lines with the second outcome. Then, you need to continue reading this blog. Since the life skills needed for your child needs to be developed.
Think about it!
- What is Life Skill?
- Why do we need to teach our children life skills?
- Life skills development – Age wise
- How to teach life skills to children?
- Note and Tips to parents
What is Life Skill?
Life skills are a set of basic skills that can be acquired by ways of learning. They also can be acquired through life experiences.
Life skills enable people to effectively handle date today issues. Issues that they may encounter in their daily life.
Depending on the culture and setting the definition of life skills may differ. However, WHO has laid down 10 core life skills that are out lined below for the promotion of the health and well-being of our children. They are …
- Critical thinking
- Creative thinking
- Decision making
- Problem Solving
- Effective communication
- Interpersonal relationship
- Coping with emotion
- Coping with stress
Why do we need to teach our children life skills?
Growth and development include not only the physical changes which will occur from infancy to adolescence but also several changes in emotions, personality, behaviour, thinking, and speech. Children develop these as they start to learn, understand, and interact with the globe around them.
While on observation we know that a 1-year old struggles to even put shoes on leave alone tie a lace, but an 8-year-old can do the same without even thinking or looking into it.
This is a life skill.
Life skill are basic skills that children need to become independent. Life skills are not thought in any academic curriculum however it is important that they learn it from us so that they are able to look after themselves.
We all want to offer our kids a good start in life yet knowing when and how to introduce life skills can be a bit of a challenge.
As your child grows, there is a window of opportunity when their experiences shape their developing brain at a specific age.
By the time the child turns 7 years old. The foundations of personality start developing and if the child’s life skill also develops equally by this time it can enhances the child personality trades positively.
In this blog we attempt to give you an understanding on life skills. We also give you an indicative age when we can attempt to teach our child the skill and how.
Life Skills – Age Wise
We have listed below life skills that can be taught to children according to their age.
Life skills for 2 – 3 yrs. olds.
- Putting away Toys.
- Collecting and putting dirty clothes in laundry basket.
- Putting on own cloths on with some help.
- Brushing teeth with help.
- Help in making bed.
- Picking up toys and putting them away.
- Can help in dusting objects/ furniture.
- Cleaning Plate and binning waste items.
- Feeding Pets.
- Placing books on bookshelf.
- Putting away Shoes away.
Life skills for 4 – 5 yrs. olds.
- Dressing up and buttoning cloths.
- Knows family members names and phone numbers.
- Can dial emergency phone number like 911.
- Can Independently brush teeth and hair.
- Choose cloths to wear.
- Make Bed on their own.
- Learn to swim.
- Set the table up.
- Clean the table.
- Watering plants.
- Sorting laundry.
- Taking care of Pets.
- Basic gardening like weeding.
- Fold Simple cloth items like towels.
- Can wipe up spills.
- Upload dishwasher.
Life skills for 6 – 7 yrs. olds.
- Make a basic meal, like sandwich.
- Help with cooking.
- Bath with minimal help.
- Pack own tiffin boxes.
- Tying shoelaces.
- Folding Laundry.
- Unloading dishwasher.
- Replace toilet paper roll.
- Sorting and putting away groceries away.
- Wipe and clean sink.
- Pour milk or water into glass.
Life skills for 8 – 9 yrs. olds
- Waking up in the working by themselves
- Reading basic stuff
- Caring for toys
- Helping with grocery list
- Sweeping floor
- Count money, buy and get right change
- Taking out trash
- Vacuum cleaning
- Scramble eggs, Make toast
- Walking the dog
- Watering and weeding garden
- Rake leaves into a pile
- Help in kitchen with Mix, stir or Cut
- Manage Allowance
How to teach life skills to children?
Life skill is not a talent, or it is something that is inherited. It is not present in our DNA to manifest itself. It is a skill. Like any other skill it can be developed only by learning, observing imitating and practicing.
Teaching life skills needs to start from a very early age. From simple to more complex skill as age progresses.
Life skill is not part of any curriculum in our educational system. Hence the responsibility lies purely us parents to give our children a good head start.
As mentioned above, life skills are not inherited but taught. So, the question arises how do we teach our children Life skills?
The answer is simple teach them the same way we teach anything else. We need to talk to them. Make them understand. Show how it is done. Explain it to them.
Finally, we patiently watch them attempt it, correct them and we reward them well they are successful. There is no shortcut to teaching life skills. This requires patience.
I urge parents to have a good understanding of developmental milestones that can be expected from their child at each age.
Also, to have a good understanding off the life skill that can be developed at each age (ref. broad list above).
The reason I tell this is because many times due to high expectations we have on our children, we land up imposing developmental skills for which the child may not be ready.
This frustrates both the child and the parent. In some cases, it may also delay the development of the skill in the child because the child becomes averse to the activity.
It can also lead to stress and the child in its helpless state might resolved to lying.
So, the advice that I give, if I may, is to request parents to give kids time. Introduce a skill, give positive reinforcement when done correctly and then move to the next kill. It is important to make skill development and engaging and happy one.
Positive environment can make the kid learn faster and quicker.
Some parents due to whatever reasons, can be lack of time or patience, land up repeatedly doing the work for the child.
Example: A child might take 5 to 10 minutes to button a shirt while the parent can do it in a minute. So, every time a child puts on a shirt the parent lands up buttoning the child’s shirt.
In this way, the child will never be able to learn the skill. Unless the child is provided, urged, and nudged to do the activity himself.
So, when the child reaches the skill developmental age or shows inclination to the activity. Parent will do good if they let them attempt in developing the skill. It becomes the responsibility of the parent to teach and nurture the kid tell that kid develops that skill.
Once again let me tell you this requires patience from your side there are no shortcuts.
Video Time: Tips about how you can teach life skills to your kid
Note to parents
You might be wondering that in the beginning of this blog we had outline ten core life skills that is needed for the health and well-being of your child according to WHO. But as we proceed into the blog, you would have realized that we were talking about age appropriate date today skills.
I understand that this can confuse you as a reader. And the question in your mind would be how will these 2 items marry?
Let me assure you that while WHO has out lined the core life skills that is needed. But, when we look at our child, their age, their capacity, and capability you will soon realise that age appropriate skills that we have outlined are more practical, the need of the hour to be taught.
These age appropriate life skills that we have out lined to be taught to our children are nothing but steppingstones. These steppingstones will slowly add up to the core life care outline by WHO.
For example: Tying shoelaces. While this is the age appropriate life skill that needs to be taught to a 5-6-year-old. When your 6-year-old tries to tie his or her shoelaces they are exercising and learning problem solving which is a core life skill suggested by WHO.
Similarly, when your 8-year-old tries to tie shoelaces in different ways into a simple bow or wrapped around her ankle whatever be it, your 8-year-old is exercising creativity which is a WHO recommended life skill.
You do not need to worry about the overall core life skills outlined by WHO.
If you follow the process of teaching children skills that is needed to man-oeuvre in their life as and when they face it. If we guide them and nurture them to master these skills that they require. We will invariably land up teaching our children the core live skills recommended by WHO for healthy and happy well-being of our children.
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