As a parent, you probably think about the morals and ethics you pass down to your children. You may also prioritize areas of focus in academics or sports.
But have you considered which life skills you need to teach your children? When a child feels competent to handle various tasks, they tend to be more resilient and independent. This can help them launch from the family home successfully and navigate the real world with greater ease.
7 Basic Skills of Life Children Need to Learn
Families have different values, but certain life skills are so important and universal that they're worth focusing on in everyday life. Don't let age limit you. Even young children pick up on routines and tasks quickly. And if your teenager presents as resistant, don't give up altogether.
Consistency is key when it comes to parenting, and perseverance and repetition are key for instilling these various skills.
Decision-making drives nearly everything we do, and children need to know how to recognize and solve problems. Try to avoid falling into the habit of making choices for your child. Instead, collaborate together. Ask them, What do you think you should do in this situation? What options are available to you? What are the pros and cons of that particular choice?
Step back and allow your child to make these independent choices. You may have to get in the habit of exercising self-control to do this. But remind yourself that your goal isn't about shielding your child from all sources of pain. Your goal is to teach your child how to recognize, manage, and cope with that pain should it arise.
Personal Hygiene and Self-Care Skills
All children should leave home knowing how to take care of themselves. At a basic level, this includes daily grooming tasks like showering, brushing their teeth, and brushing their hair.
But it also includes knowing how to take care of your physical body. This means knowing basic nutrition, identifying how and when to make doctor's appointments, and tuning into your own body.
Interpersonal skills are among some of the most important life skills you can teach your child. The world runs on making connections, and a child needs to recognize how to talk to others, pick up on nonverbal cues, and articulate their feelings clearly.
Effective communication is best learned by your own modeling. Focus on how you actively listen to and talk to your child. Prioritize conveying respect and speaking what's on your mind without acting critically or passively.
Time Management Skills
Knowing how to use time wisely is another vital life skill that a child needs to succeed at work, in school, and even in relationships. Frequently procrastinating or running late often leads to frustrating consequences.
Time management often starts with self-awareness. Children need to recognize how long it may take them to complete a certain task. Young children may benefit from schedules or timers to gauge this process. Older children can practice breaking larger tasks into smaller ones and self-reflecting on areas where they can make improvements.
Children need to learn how to be self-sufficient in their own homes. Household skills include basic cleaning and home maintenance.
At the very least, your child should know how to keep a presentable living space and look after their belongings. This includes doing dishes and laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, and keeping surfaces clean. It also includes basic tasks like knowing how to change a lightbulb, replace a filter, and clog a toilet.
Delayed Gratification Skills
Impulsivity can be a sign of a mental health condition, but children can also struggle with it if they were never taught how to pause. Delayed gratification entails a heightened level of critical thinking, but it's one of those essential life skills that can support their emotional well-being throughout life.
Focus on starting small. Young children, for example, can wait a few minutes before being served a snack. Focus on praising patience and encourage them to take deep breaths or practice other emotional regulation skills when they struggle.
Money Management Skills
At some point, your child will need to work for a living. Them learning how to take care of their financial health is a valuable skill that can help them succeed once they start earning their own money.
You can talk about basic budgeting from a young age. Some parents like to give an allowance to teach them about the value of money and how to use critical thinking when it comes to choosing what to buy. But you can also talk about money and focus your conversations on how to save and make intelligent financial decisions.
Final Thoughts on Teaching Your Children Basic Life Skills
Children need to learn a combination of hard skills and soft skills to succeed in their adult lives. Keep in mind you aren't entirely responsible for everything they learn. They will also absorb different life skills from their teachers, friends, and other influences.
And if you realize that you may have missed teaching some of these skills, try to be kind to yourself. Parenting is tough work, and you simply can't prioritize everything, especially if you lack specific knowledge or face other challenges during your journey.
The good news is that we're all adaptive and can learn life skills at any age. If you or your child needs help being more self-sufficient, we are here for you. At Resurface Group, we teach life skills and help people work through their setbacks.
Contact us today to learn more!