With so much for our children to learn in today’s high-tech world, it’s all too easy for them to miss out on practical life skills, whether it’s running a load of wash, reading a map, or handwriting a letter.
What Are the Most Important Life Skills for Kids to Learn?
- Focus and Self Control
- Making Connections
- Critical Thinking
- Taking on Challenges
- Self-Directed, Engaged Learning
Life Skill Activities to Incorporate into Your Daily Routine
Focus and Self Control
Children thrive on schedules, habits, and routines, which not only create a feeling of security but also help children learn self-control and focus. Talk with your child about what to expect each day. Organize your home so your child knows where to put her shoes, coat, and personal belongings. We live in a noisy, distraction-filled world. Quiet activities, such as reading a book or completing a puzzle together can help your child slow down and increase focus.
Thinking about another’s point of view doesn’t come naturally to most children but it can be developed. Discuss the characters’ feelings and motivations in the books you read.
Children need high-touch personal interactions every day to build healthy social-emotional skills, including the ability to understand and communicate with others. Children need to learn how to “read” social cues and listen carefully. They must consider what they want to communicate and the most effective way to share it. Just talking with an interested adult can help build these skills. Spend time every day listening to responding to your child without distractions.
True learning, occurs when we can see connections and patterns between seemingly disparate things. The more connections we make, the more sense and meaning we make of the world. Young children begin to see connections and patterns as they sort toys and socks. Simple acts such as choosing to clothe appropriate for the weather helps them build connections. Point out more abstract connections in life or in stories you read.
We live in a complex world in which adults are required to analyze information and make decisions about myriad things every day. One of the best ways to build critical thinking is through rich, open-ended play. Make sure your child has time each day to play alone or with friends. This play might include taking on roles, building structures, playing board games, or playing outside physical games. Through play, children formulate hypotheses, take risks, try out their ideas, make mistakes, and find solutions—all essential elements in building critical thinking.
Taking on Challenges
One of the most important traits we can develop in life is that of resilience—being able to take on challenges, bounce back from failure, and keep trying. Children learn to take on challenges when we create an environment with the right amount of structure—not so much as to be limiting, but enough to make them feel safe. Encourage your child to try new things and allow reasonable risk, such as climbing a tree or riding a bike.
Self-Directed, Engaged Learning
A child who loves learning becomes an adult who is rarely bored in life. To encourage a love of learning, try to limit television and encourage plenty of reading, play, and open-ended exploration. Model curiosity and enthusiasm for learning in your own life by visiting the library together, keeping craft supplies, making games available, and allowing for some messes at home.
By following these simple tips, you can easily help your child build essential skills.