Everyone comes into this world a blank slate. With time, watching, observing and learning, we begin to learn different things.
From how to walk, speak, eat, read, write, and even how to act, think and what to believe. Parents have a huge influence in the lives of their children and how they turn out. And this is why, parents need to be more intentional in their duties.
Every parent wants to raise a child that can hold his/her own in the big world out there. And this is why, beyond classroom education, there are some important life skills that parents need to inculcate into their children, to help them grow wholly and effectively navigate the complexities of life.
Below are 5 of these important life skills parents need to teach their children:
Time management: Time management is a crucial skill in today’s world. It’s a skill that sets successful people apart from the rest.
We live in a fast paced world that doesn’t slow down a millisecond to wait for anyone. And there is always so much to do! This is why we must teach our children this all important skill, to help them stay afloat in this sea of life.
One of the best ways to teach kids time management is to mirror it to them by example. A ten year old boy, when asked at his mum’s birthday party, what he loves the most about his mum, he said; Mum does so much every day! She does not waste time. I hear mummy talk about all the different things she needs to do in the day and I see her focus on these activities till she is done. She tells me that, that is the way to success and I want to be that way too.
Your kids watch you! When you say you would get things done, work on getting them done. You can’t complain about your kids slacking and lazing about, if that is the example you are setting for them by your actions.
If kids know what time they eat or take their snacks daily, then they can learn how to manage their time too! Have a timetable that lists out the activities they are to do daily, let it include play time and other necessary activities like bedtime stories, if that’s a thing in your home. When their activities are timed, it helps them know that they can’t take all day on a particular task because they feel like. And this helps them focus on one task at a time. This way they start to become more intentional about their time.
Decision Making: Decision making is very vital skill for children to learn. This skill helps them to learn early in life that they have a choice and others do not have to always choose for them. This way, they also learn to trust their own judgement and accept the outcome of their decisions. You can start teaching them these skills by often asking them to choose between two or more things. For instance, giving them the option to pick one among five different fruits, instead of just handing them the fruit. This helps them decide which fruit is most preferred by them individually. You will also get to learn more about their choices as a parent. This extends to other areas of their lives. Let them start learning to make decisions and guide them appropriately where it is needed.
Saving Skill: It will help a great deal to start teaching your children how to set aside something from their pocket money and from the money they receive as gifts. You can do this by getting them ‘piggy bank’ to save their money in. You can also open a bank account for them and inform them of the importance of saving consistently. You also share some of your childhood money experiences with them.
Do not be in a hurry to collect from them, money given to them has gifts. Instead, let them know you want to keep it for them or save it in their bank account. If you ever want to use the money to purchase something for them, let them know so they do not keep requesting for the money that no longer exists.
You can also encourage kids to save by asking them to save towards buying something they want. It surely gets better with time.
Communication skill: Beyond just talking, children need to learn how to communicate. This means they need to learn how to speak to people in such a way that their message is passed across and understood. Communication skill is best learnt from the home. It starts from the way you speak and listen to your children. Listen to your kids when they make requests (no matter how out of it you may be). If you are too tired, irritable or just not in the mood to talk or listen to them, communicate this to them. Tell them “Can we have this conversation later?” I am not feeling great right now”.
This will also help them see that, one MUST not always be at the beck and call of others. And that self-care is necessary.
Tell your children your day and ask them about theirs as well. Get them to tell you about their new friend, about their favorite food and things like that. The more they talk to you the better they get at communicating. This exchange also helps to build a healthy bond between parents and children. If you always shut them up, they might find it difficult to express themselves among their peers and even in the classroom.
Like every other skill we want our kids to develop, when it comes to communication, we are the best model our kids follow.
Courtesy: Courtesy is a skill that everyone needs. You would be surprised when you meet adults that lack courtesy, you can almost imagine how they were raised. Courtesy is simply the show of politeness. Having basic good manners. To help a child develop courtesy, teach them the importance of these; apologizing when you are wrong, saying ‘thank you’ when someone lends you a helping hand, saying ‘excuse me’, ‘please’ and so on. Basically treating others with respect.
All of these life skills prepare children for the realities of life. Children with the above life skills are more likely to build meaningful relationships, become emotionally intelligent, financially responsible, and be persons of good character as they grow older.