Written By: Hannah Tong
Founder of Omaby
The best time to teach children is when they are young. They are capable of learning more during their first few years of life than they are in those first few years of school.
Perhaps most impressively, they learn the more complex parts of language before they’re five years old.
Children should start acquiring life skills from their parents while they’re young and impressionable. Teaching these nine life skills can help your children down a path of independence.
Ten Life Skills All Kids Should Be Taught
1. Caring For Themselves
Some life skills, like practicing good hygiene, should be learned as early on as possible. Children around two years old can care for their bodies with a little help from you. By the time children are five or six, they are perfectly capable of bathing themselves, and children should learn to use the toilet much earlier on than that. These habits should be taught early on, so children with bad hygiene don’t become adults with bad hygiene.
2. Establish Good Sleep Patterns
Presently, a lot of children (and adults) aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep. Since children are constantly growing (especially their brains), you should make sure your children get nine to eleven hours of sleep on an average night if they are of school age. Younger children and babies will need more than this.
Between your child’s first and second birthday, you should encourage and monitor routine habits like bathing, brushing teeth, and going to bed on time.
♦ Related Reading: Why Is Sleep Important For Kids – Here Are 7 Great Reasons! ♦
3. Participate In Family Chores
Children around six years old can take on their chores or, at the very least, help pick up after themselves. For example, if your children can brush their teeth without assistance, they are likely able of cleaning the sink afterward. Children who can dress themselves can certainly relocate their dirty clothes to the dirty laundry basket.
Children who are four to six years old are physically capable of dusting furniture, washing dishes, and putting dishes away (assuming the shelves aren’t a few feet above their heads).
Surely six-year-olds will make mistakes, but that’s only because they still need guidance. Remember to be patient and encouraging, so they don’t lose their motivation. If they are putting forth the effort, they are practicing their independence.
Studies have even been done to show that children who are involved in chores are often more successful as adults!
4. Helping With Basic Food Prep
Helping around the kitchen while parents are preparing food will inspire them to learn more about food and cooking. Children who spend more time in the kitchen are less likely to make poor food choices or become picky eaters.
Children can learn to measure and mix ingredients when they’re around four years old (which means they’re capable of doing a lot more).
While children around this age may not be able to use the oven or the stove top, most can use the microwave or a toaster, and there are plenty of snacks they can prepare without a heat source.
♥ You Might Also Like: Easy Ways Kids Can Learn and Help In The Kitchen! ♥
5. Helping In The Garden
While children learn about living indoors, parents should encourage their children to learn about nature. Children as young as three or four can sprout a seedling and monitor its growth. Children around the same age can also water plants, plant seeds, and dig holes for transplanted saplings. By age six, your child should be able to do most of these things by himself.
6. Learn About First Aid
By the time children reach six years old, they should already be acquainted with the idea of pain and the sight of blood. It is important for parents to remain calm so that their children don’t become anxious when they experience a small wound when you’re not around. Showing your children how to stop small bleeds and dress wounds will teach them to work through the pain rationally.
7. Riding A Bike
Many children can learn how to ride a bike (with training wheels) around three years of age. While most children under six can’t handle a bicycle without training wheels, you may want to consider taking them off earlier than this as training wheels tend to become crutches for older children. A balance bike is a good way to learn balance while moving without pedals getting in the way!
8. Learning How To Swim
Learning how to swim is another important life skill. Children between the ages of one and six should be familiar with larger bodies of water than the one in the bathtub.
Children under three years old are perfectly capable of basic swimming skills like floating. Between four and five years of age children can learn how to use their arms and legs to tread water.
Swimming lessons aren’t always necessary, but they can be a great aid for children having trouble adjusting to the water or if you don’t have access to swimming pools or large bodies of water. Obviously, the more your children are around water, the less afraid of it they will be.
9. Entertaining Themselves
Some children rely on their parents to let them know what to do, including play activities. Since this could hinder them later in life (e.g. difficulty making independent decisions), children should be encouraged early on to play by themselves for short periods of time.
This type of unstructured play leads to many learning opportunities that should not be overlooked!
♥ You Might Also Like: 111 Awesome Ideas For What To Do When The Kids Are Bored! ♥
10. Think Creatively and Critically
One of the most important life skills you can teach young children is how to think for themselves. This includes both critical and creative thinking. The world is full of problems that need solving.
Critical and creative thinking challenge the brain to solve complex problems in different ways. Parents should teach their children about their surroundings and interesting facts about how the world works (e.g. how gravity works, how objects float, etc.). Additionally, they should challenge their children to ask (and answer) hard questions.
However, parents shouldn’t get too involved if they see their children trying to figure things out for themselves (so long as they’re not driven to tears with frustration). Children will benefit from finding their answers to difficult questions, and they get little to nothing from being told all the answers.
These life skills will help children become more independent adults. The most important thing for parents to do is to start teaching their children early. There are few things more disappointing for eighteen-year-olds than realizing they aren’t prepared to survive on their own. Parents should keep their children engaged and regularly encourage them to be better than they were the day before.
Hannah Tong is the founder of Omaby, a blog dedicated to providing accurate advice to mothers regarding childcare. She loves taking care of her kids and teaching them the right things. She is also enthusiastic and loves sharing her experiences to teach others about how to care for their families’ health. Check the latest article Is It Safe To Do Yoga While Pregnant?