Life skills are basic tools kids need to function effectively in life. No matter your kids’ ages, you should invest some time to teach them basic skills. Having the right skills will build their confidence and make them responsible members in society. Check out some essential ones.
One of the most important skills you can teach your kids is self-awareness. They should be able to identify and understand their strengths, weaknesses, talents, and interest. This thinking skill allows your kids to judge their own performance and develop a sense of self.
Tip: Have your kid teach you a game he loves. Your kid will learn how to articulate the objectives and rules of the game. It will also help develop his listening and observation skills.
2. Problem Solving Skills
Whether at home, school, or the playground, your kids will face challenges. It is important that you teach them how to identify possible solutions, evaluate them and select the best option. As they grow older, your kids will find it easier to solve problems since they already know how to.
Tip: Play Sudoku, chess, and computer games with your kids. Help them identify the advantages and disadvantages of situations that arise and discuss ways to solve them.
3. Critical Thinking Skills
Did your toddler ever come down a slide and land ina puddle of muddy water? Or your teenager chose to hang out with friends after school instead of completing an assignment due next day? Teach your kid how to ‘think before they act’. It can save you both the frustration.
Tip: Give kids scenarios where they must apply critical thinking. At the end of the exercise, discuss each scenario and identify possible alternatives.
4. Decision Making
Your kids will find themselves in situations where they must make a decision and take responsibility for it. Guide them through the decision-making process so that they can make informed decisions.
Tip: Play a timed game with your kids where they must choose which one they prefer e.g. burger vs hotdog?Singing vs dancing? By timing the game, you force them to decide quickly. Discuss your observations at the end.
5. Conflict Resolution
Your kids should know how to handle conflicts. Help them identify the reason(s) for the conflict. Let them state their position and allow the other person to do so also. Both parties will have an opportunity to express how they feel and discuss a solution. Intervene if necessary.
Tip: If there’s a sibling dispute, sit both kids down and have them discuss the issue. Remind them that it is ok to disagree. Have them come up with solutions and decide on the best one.
Teach your kids how to communicate effectively. Your kid should learn how to engage in face-to-face communication (interpersonal skills). They should feel comfortable articulating their feelings, likes, dislikes, etc. Written communication is also important as it will help withclass projects, exams, etc.
Tip: During dinnertime, have your kids share one pleasant and one not-so-pleasant incident that happened at school.This will encourage them to express how they feel.
7. Work Skills
Teach your kids to be productive and hard working and show them techniques to work efficiently. Having the right work ethic from young will benefit them when they are older, especially in their career.
Tip: Create a chore chart for your kids. If you have more than one kid, do a rotation so they take turns doing the chores. Reward them when they complete a chore.
8. Money Management
Kids are never too young to learn how to manage money. You can teach your kids how to prioritize their spending and regularly save some of their allowance. In this way they will know that they cannot buy everything they want, when they want it.
Tip: Teach your kids how to set short term and long term goals. Help them start a piggy bank, open a bank account or buy shares in a credit union and teach them how to manage their accounts.
9. Time Management
If you’ve experienced at least one of these situations, you should teach your kids time management skills.
- My kid never finishes his assignment within the required time.
- My kid scored low on her test because she ran out of time.
- I’m rushing every morning because my kids take too long to get ready.
Time management skills will help your kids take control of their time and be more productive. Teach them how to set schedules, assign time to tasks, and prioritize the tasks. Include a contingency time in their schedule to deal with unexpected events.
Tip: Set the timer when your kid has to do an exercise. Give occasional updates on the remaining time. If he completes the exercise in time, reward him. If he doesn’t, discuss ways to improve and repeat the activity until he achieves the objective.