Life skills cannot be learned overnight, or even a year. These are life's essentials that we can teach our kids through experience, and as they grow each given day. As parents, we have to take advantage of learning opportunities through small moments and things.
According to Christine Field's book - Life Skills for Kids: Equipping Your Child for the Real World, here are the life skills that our tots need to learn:
DOING HOUSEHOLD CHORES
Key Lessons: ability to assume responsibility, coping/self management skills
- don't simply tell them to clean their room, demonstrate them how to do it.
- provide them with labeled or color coded storage bins so packing away and organizing toys can be made easy.
- teaching kids to help with household isn't just about getting chores done but serves the greater purpose of letting them take charge, allowing them to feel that they contribute significantly to the household, and teaching them about responsibility along the way.
HANDLING PLAYTIME SQUABBLES
Key Lessons: communication, interpersonal relations, negotiating and refusal skills, empathy building
If you see your kids fighting over a toy, stand back. Reserve your mediating prowess and let them try to work things out on their own first. however, observing them to become too hostile or physical towards each other, means time to intervene and ask them to explain what the quarrel is all about ONE AT A TIME so that they'll see the effectiveness of taking one's turn and hearing the other person out.
PARTICIPATING IN GROUP PROJECTS
Key Lessons: cooperation, teamwork, communication, interpersonal skills
- propose a family project to give your kids the opportunity to see home teamwork, cooperation, and harmony in diverse skills are needed to meet a common goal. For example, ask them to work on a family scrapbook and let them delegate tasks among themselves.
- Acknowledge your kids with their participation and encourage them as well of ways to be pro-active.
Key Lessons: coping/self management skills, ability to take on responsibility
- teach them the importance of taking a bath, brushing their teeth, clipping their nails and cleaning their ears - especially on their own. Discuss the consequences of skipping these routines.
- show them how to prepare simple snacks like sandwich or make themselves a glass of juice. Then, show them how to clean up after themselves when they have finished eating: putting back the bread in the bread basket, bringing the used dishes to the sink.
Key Lessons: decision making, critical thinking skills
- brainstorm pros and cons with them in every possible situation and explain the consequences of their choices so they can reach a sound decision.
- parents can ask questions that prompt their kids to think and decide autonomously. (Would you like to help mommy set the table or water the plants with daddy?)
BEING THE HANDY TYKE
Key Lessons: problem solving
- showing your kids how to do some handy works teaches them that they can fix things on their own. Basic problem-solving skills are instilled as kids eventually learn to evaluate consequences of present actions and determine alternative solutions to the problem.
- kids may be too young to handle basic carpentry or garden tools, but by showing them that you are willing to do some gardening or simple carpentry, you are already inspiring them to want to someday be the family "handy hyke", who can sew their own buttons, glue together broken robot parts, or do routine maintenance on their bicycle.
HOLDING THE PURSE STRINGS
Key Lessons: critical thinking, coping/self management skills
- with proper guidance, kids learn to work out a budget, plan for savings, or stay out of debt by buying within their means.
- give them little allowances and allow them to decide how to spend it.
- when kids are empowered, it encourages a can-do attitude, which makes them strive to do things better.
MANAGING THEIR TIME AND SPACE
Key Lessons: coping/self management skills, stress management
- educate your kids on how to use clocks and calendars, and how the changes in season affect everyday living can help them value time.
- draw up daily schedule with your kids where they can clearly see how a day is broken down into hours. Ask them which activity should be done first, next, and last -- this serves as their first brush with the concept of prioritizing.