What Life Skills Should Every Child Master?
Parents often stress the importance of creative, academic and sporting efforts and achievements but ‘results on paper’ are just one of many skills children need to shine in their adult lives. In the City of Melton, many parents sign their kids up for local learning activities as a way to foster important interpersonal skills they need to shine in their career and personal lives. As noted in a 2019 study by S Majid et al, “soft skills play an important role in a successful career as well as during social interactions in the society.” Although there are numerous skills parents can pass onto their children, a few stand out due to their importance in a variety of professional and personal settings. Below are just a few that may inspire you if you are thinking about upskilling yourself or your kids.
Working Together Solves the Biggest Problems
Working with others can be tough, particularly when a child feels they have what it takes to solve the problem or win the game on their own. However, being empathetic to other children and recognising that each individual has information and experience that is unique and useful to others, is key. There are many ways to teach kids to be team players, including team sports, team games (such as tug-of-war, relay racing, and escape rooms), etc. At home, kids should have their own responsibilities, so they can realise that everyone’s individual effort is needed and of value if a family, team or indeed any group, is to function to its best ability. Kids can help keep the home clean, taking charge of just one manageable area. This may be one bathroom, the yard, or the living room. Find out the chores they love the most and enable them to carry these tasks out.
Self-compassion is not dependent on achievements, unlike self-confidence, which is based on our abilities and successes. We want to teach children to be compassionate and generous with others, but it is also important to be kind to oneself. For instance, when kids achieve less than expected at school or sport, if they give themselves a hard time about it, encourage them to be as accepting of themselves, as they would to a friend. Let them know that effort and consistency matter more than a grade.
Self-Care and Pampering
Teach kids to groom and pamper themselves with lovely baths, a favourite soap or body wash, or a mini mani/pedi. Doing so will let them know from the start that it feels good to treat yourself once in a while! Pampering may seem like a superficial pursuit, but its psychological effects run deep. It stresses the importance of being kind to yourself, but also shows the inexorable link between body, mind, and spirit in a subtle, enjoyable way.
To truly understand others, we need to ‘get into their shoes’. When your kids have arguments with others at school, it can be tempting to jump on their bandwagon and immediately side with them. However, kids can benefit more from trying to understand where others are coming from and what motivates them. Encourage kids to try to think of why their friends may have behaved less than ideally on a given day. Is there any way your child can understand their perspective and therefore feel less hurt about behaviour they did not immediately understand?
Children should know how to prepare a snack, sew a button, and iron a shirt (once they are mature enough to not burn or hurt themselves, of course). If you leave it to their teen or adult years, they may have already become accustomed to having someone else take charge of these tasks. If a child is able to feed themselves it helps to build independence and confidence.
There are so many skills parents pass on every day to children. These include caring for others, working as a team, and being empathetic. As a parent, it is up to you to choose those you wish to pass on. Be creative when making your list of must-have life skills and don’t forget to include the basics!
In the City of Melton, we offer a range of learning activities that enable you and your children to learn new skills while having fun, making new friends and leading active lives.