Sure, your child might need help tying their shoes today, but one day, they’ll be headed off to university or pursuing a career. Learning life skills not only prepares your child for the real world but also builds independence and self-confidence. Here’s our list of the 10 most valuable life skills you should teach your kids!
Ready to be inspired? Here we go…
Teaching your kids to shop for ingredients and prepare nutritious meals will give them a huge advantage in life. Ask your kids to help you with the cooking and also encourage their independence (with proper supervision, of course). By age 9 or 10, most children should be able to make themselves toast or a sandwich, and by age 12 or 13, they should be able to make a few easy dishes, such as pasta or an omelette. Investing in this skill can pay dividends for parents–one day soon, your child could be cooking dinner for you!
Financial skills are essential skills! Teach kids about the value of hard work by allowing them to earn pocket money by completing chores or doing well in school. Give them a baseline allowance and encourage them to develop a savings plan to buy the big toy they’ve had their eyes on. You can also involve children in some of the family budgeting–meal-planning, supermarket trips, and online comparative shopping are all great ways to teach some simple financial skills.
3. Basic First Aid
Knowing what to do in a medical emergency can be a life-saving skill. Of course, most children learn the basics in school, but you can supplement this knowledge at home or through completing a first-aid course as a family. At home, familiarise your children with your first-aid kit and show them how to use its contents. Explain different scenarios and role-play appropriate responses.
Make tidying up a team effort! It’s often tempting (and quicker) to just tidy up after your children. However, in the long-term, it’s more beneficial for your kids if you teach them the skills they need to clean up after themselves. Aside from putting their toys away, younger children can be taught to dust and sweep, and older children can make their own beds and learn how to hoover.
5. DIY Repair Skills
As your children grow up, take every opportunity to involve them in household DIY tasks. Teach kids to use basic tools, such as hammers and screwdrivers. Ask them to help you as you hang pictures, put up shelves, or build flat-pack furniture. Kids love to be involved with hands-on projects, and they’ll gain some valuable expertise in the process!
6. Hanging, Folding and Putting Away Clothes
Taking care of your clothes makes them last longer and keeps them looking smarter. Teach kids how to put tops on hangers, fold trousers, and put everything away neatly in drawers or wardrobes. This will make rooms look much tidier (no messy piles of clothes on the floor), and it also helps children value their personal belongings.
7. Identifying Plants, Trees and Flowers
Being able to identify plants is a pretty impressive skill to have, and it could definitely prove useful! Learning about nature also helps children appreciate the world around them and encourages mindfulness. Buy a guidebook and go on family nature walks to practice what you’ve learned. Stumped by a particular tree or plant? Snap a photo and download a plant identification app to ask other users for help!
Teaching kids to sew lends itself to all sorts of fun, crafty possibilities, but it’s also just a handy life skill. Being able to mend a tear, stitch a button or turn up a hem can make clothes last much longer, which is great for the budget and the environment.
9. Washing Up
Once your children are old enough, enlist their help with the washing up. After all, washing dishes is an essential life skill, and it’s something they’ll need to do for themselves once they leave home. And there’s no reason you can’t start planting the seeds of this habit even earlier–for instance, you can assist very young children with loading their own dishes and cutlery into the dishwasher after every meal.
10. Time Management
Similar to budgeting, time management is a vital life skill for future success. Learning this skill early on will also help children as they move into more challenging schooling and begin to study for important exams. Get your children an alarm clock and make them responsible for waking up on time. Buy them a planner in which they can track their homework and extracurricular activities. And don’t forget to teach them the importance of leaving enough free time for fun and play!
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Why did the man run around his bed? Because he was trying to catch up on his sleep!