10 Life Skills For A Child's Success
Do you think your child is equipped with skills essential to face the real world? Do you think that they can take care of themselves in your absence?
We at Indian School of Excellence believe that it is beneficial for children to learn more than just academically. This is not just about enrolling them in classes after school either. More importantly, children need to be taught life skills.
Oxford Dictionary defines a life skill as “a skill that is necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life.” Decision making and time management are examples of life skills.
A few schools in recent times have introduced classes dedicated to the development of these skills. However life skills training doesn’t just happen in schools. To fully understand their importance, a child needs reinforcement at home as well to promote these skills.
“When you want your child to grow up strong, you want to teach by example.”
– Dr. Amrita Basu Misra from Health Wealth Bridge
1. Time Management
You’re probably wondering how you can help your child learn time management. It’s quite simple actually – stop coddling them! Jokes aside, why not allow your child to claim responsibility for their time?
Start with the little things like getting them to use an alarm to wake up on time for school. Minimise the need for you to have to wake them up.
Similarly, set a bedtime to help them build a consistent sleep pattern. This will lead to better sleep which has been proven to be a factor in overall health and well-being.
Another way time can be managed well by children is to build routines. During the school year children usually have the same daily tasks to finish (like shower first then get dressed and so on). Each task can be put on to a checklist. Over time the tasks will become routines.
This will not only help children build an essential skill but also minimise hassle for you during hectic mornings.
At Indian School of Excellence students are encouraged to make their daily checklists from the time they wake up to when they go to bed.
2. Decision Making
Education, career, life partners.. we make quite a few important decisions through the course of our lives. It makes sense then that having a good framework for making sound decisions will go a long way. This is a skill which is used by all manners of people. Top businessmen need to essentially master decision making which is often seen as key to their success.
Why not instil the skill in your child at a younger age itself?
Giving your child breathing room and allowing her to choose freely is critical to the development of this skill.
Start by allowing them independence in shopping for themselves. Let them choose the fashion or toy they would like.
Show them that better decisions can be made when the pros and cons of each alternative is weighed. Also, show them that good decisions are rarely made in a hurry.
Finally try to promote an attitude of acceptance in judging the decision’s outcome. This is because mistakes are inevitable and they should be presented as opportunities to learn and grow.
3. Money Management and Budgeting
We all know this is a life skill that even some adults haven’t mastered yet.
What is written next is important so it may suit you well to take note.
Do not give your children money for free. This teaches them to expect it for free in other areas of their life in the future.
Instead make them earn it by doing simple chores. For instance, you can compensate your child Rs 100 for making their bed in the morning for a week.
Introduce to them the concept of opportunity cost. This can be done quite simply – “If you buy this video game you won’t have money to buy that pair of fancy shoes you really like.” This will encourage them to think of money as a finite resource.
Give older children the responsibility of a bank account and allow them to learn the working of the banking system. This will lay the foundation for the importance of saving to invest.
Students of Indian School of Excellence have exposure to financial knowledge through the semi-annual Financial Literacy Week.
4. Responsibility and Self Reliance
When your children grow up they are most likely going to leave home to pursue their education or career goals. When they are away from home they will need to be responsible for themselves.
Most parents today ensure all their children’s needs are met. Sometimes this can do more harm than good with children not being involved and thereby not learning anything.
This shouldn’t be the case.
Be it packing their bags or washing their plate after a meal, learning these skills at a younger age will promote a sense of independence.
5. Resilience and Adaptability
Although traditionally thought of as more of a personality trait than a skill, resilience and adaptability are actually found to improve with time. This is especially found to be true when it is compounded with exposure to situations that demand resilience and adaptability.
Situations such as these arise quite often in a child’s environment. Maybe there’s a fellow student who is not being very nice or perhaps a particular homework assignment is proving especially difficult.
These are all opportunities to enable your child to learn resilience and adaptability. Try to resist the temptation to intervene and quickly resolve the issue.
In such situations, it will be beneficial to empower your child to try to solve the problems independently. This will lay the foundation for adaptability. Exposure to situations that are challenging will foster a sense of resilience.
Be sure to allow for enough support and communication. Try to make an effort to understand what your child is going through and help him out when it is required.
6. First Aid and Healthy Living
Let’s face it, you can’t always be around when your child gets hurt, bitten by an insect, or has a rash. So, how about empowering them to look after themselves in such situations?
This is something we at Indian School of Excellence believe in and therefore incorporate in our curriculum.
Though it may seem like a lot of work – a lesson on first aid can really have a significant impact in a situation of emergency. A simple lesson demonstration the contents and uses of the contents in a first aid kit should suffice.
An emphasis on healthy living will also pay off tremendously in the long run. Healthy living encompasses a good diet, adequate exercise, acceptable personal hygiene, and mental health exercises like meditation.
This seems like a lot to aim at accomplishing at first. However the good news is that these very early become life-long habits when introduced at a younger age. Like everything that takes time, start small and keep it simple.
Don’t you think basic cooking is a life skill that most kids and teenagers lack today?
Let’s be honest, basic cooking skills are not all that hard to develop.
Why not start with something very simple. Sandwiches, toast, and maybe some salads are a great place to begin. Tearing up greens, cutting vegetables, and squeezing lemons should also be okay.
With all cooking, it may be wise to ensure adequate adult supervision for younger children. You can also allow them to explore baking which is often a nice way to bond with your child.
Indian School of Excellence has fireless cooking as part of its curriculum with classes held every fortnight. A program titled “Food Science” which includes ideas like growing organic food is planned to be introduced in 2021.
8. Independent Travel
Every child should know how to travel. At least in case of emergencies.
From learning to ride a bicycle to knowing how to take the bus or metro, being able to travel gives children a new dimension of independence.
Encourage your child to learn to purchase bus or metro tickets. An idea of which localities a bus or metro routes passes through will improve a child’s sense of local geography and subsequently a greater sense of belonging with the city.
Of course be mindful of your child’s age before allowing independent travel and prioritise her safety.
This may seem out of place in an article like this but knowing how to buy your vegetables and fruits is a skill that is going unnoticed in recent times. If possible, take your child grocery shopping.
Let children have the opportunity to learn to identify ripe fruits and vegetables.
In this venture, your child also has the opportunity to learn the importance of paying a fair price and not overpaying for goods. Grocery shopping can even be thought of as the kindergarten for all future business deals your child will make!
It may also do everyone good if you shop smart yourself. Remember, your children are always learning from you.
Supermarket visits are a semi-annual occurrence at Indian School of Excellence.
10. Meeting New People
Traditionally, it has often been taught to children that they should mistrust strangers. Although this sentiment has sound origins, it may not be wholesome for a child’s growth.
As children grow up they will constantly have to meet new people. Be it new classmates, teachers or friends, a general comfort towards adapting to new social circles will make life much easier.
Give your child the lesson on being able to differentiate between good and bad strangers. Let them know some ways in which to interact with those that are deemed good. This is a skill that’ll go a long way when they’re adults and need to network and build connections.
It has been found that the early years of child’s life is where many positive social skills are developed. The deficiency of these skills can hinder the sense of fulfilment that is afforded by a social circle.