Life skills may seem like a neo-modern phrase; and teaching them to kids may sound pseudo or too early for their age to some of you but importance of life-skills shouldn’t be undermined. It is generations old concept that our grandmothers learnt from theirs and it made a huge sense then and make a huge sense now.
It may not be a part of curriculum in many schools but life skills is what your child will need in order to become an independent confident, and the human being that you’re trying to groom him/her into. Life skills will make him wise, give him sensibilities to take decisions, teach survival, deal with people, adjust in new environment, and be a friend! Mathematics, history, and geography is not all it takes to make a life!
This is not to say academics are less important, but unless formal education is backed with these skills; unless you introduce your child to life and tune his mind to learning lessons life teaches, unless you teach him to observe people, think and analyze situations… his degree will make that much less sense.
Teaching your kid to ask for help as well as lending a helping hand to those who need, will make him/her secure from within and makes for an important life skill. Teaching them to take success and rejection in stride is a life skill that will strengthen emotional control and balance. Introducing them to hobbies will open a whole new world to them and teach life skills we can’t even imagine. If you happen to stay in a ‘safe from mad-traffic’ township, you can ask your child to cycle to a nearby shop to buy small items; this will build his self confidence and make him independent. Placing your trust and confidence in them & applauding (in moderation) their achievements will build their self-confidence. These are emotional skills.
Physical life skills include teaching them to answer phone calls, greet guests, show respect, accept gifts with grace, be at ease while conversing with people, help you to clean kitchen table, study, follow a time table, be alert etc. Teach them to sleep, wake up, and study on time; create environment that will help them to become dependent. The list is endless.
Different skills should be taught to kids at different stages of growth. You can’t teach a 4 year old to iron clothes or polish shoes; instead teach them to answer phone calls politely and answer regular questions your friends ask.
Go for it and lead by example. You can’t go on pressing the snooze button nine times in the morning and expect your kids to wake up at 6.30 am sharp! Or throw litter around and not keep your own things in place and expect the kid to be organized. Not done.
If you smile and say hello as you open the door for your guests, your child will automatically learn it. Similarly if you say thank you, please and sorry, you will never need to teach these to your kids as a skill. They will absorb it from the environment. If you mend your shirt, treat your wife with love and respect, eat your breakfast on time, exercise, your child will learn the same virtues as he grows up. Remember he’s observing like you can’t imagine and your behaviour is getting imprinted in his subconscious mind and will show up someday. Beware.