Navigating the journey of parenthood can often be confusing and challenging. While you may wish your little one could stay young forever, you also want them to grow into empowered and responsible individuals.
The best thing you can do for your child’s development is to teach them how to tackle real-world problems early on. Below, we’ve compiled a list of 7 essential life skills you should teach your children to help them grow into empowered, healthy, and mature adults.
1. Decision-Making Skills
Making independent decisions is an important life skill for any individual, and it’s never too early to teach your children how. No matter how young your child is, you can help develop their decision-making skills by giving them the opportunity to make minor decisions in their day-to-day lives.
You can start by asking them to choose between two meal options, what outfit they’d like to wear that day, which cartoon they want to watch, and so on. By presenting your child with simple choices and giving them the power to make decisions, you can help foster a critical skill they will need later in life.
2. Self-Care And Personal Development
While you should encourage your child to take their studies seriously and do well academically, it is also crucial to teach them about the importance of self-care and personal development.
Teach them to be attentive to their needs and to take the time to rest and fuel their body. Introduce them to “me time” and personal space — take them on trips, allow messes within the home, and encourage them to practice self-care whenever they feel overwhelmed.
It’s also important to teach your child basic health concepts once they grow a little older. For example, Oscar Wylee explains how measuring your pupillary distance is vital to good eyecare. Since many children suffer from eye problems these days, if your child is aware of this concept, they’re already ahead of many other children.
3. Financial Literacy
It is vital to teach your child the basics of handling money from a young age and then develop these skills further as they grow. Some essential financial skills your child should know include the values of different currencies, how to tell notes/coins apart, the concepts of profit vs. loss, spending vs. saving, and so on.
Once your child becomes a teenager, you should teach them how to manage a bank account, pay taxes, pay bills, and use a credit card and ATM. While many parents don’t discuss finances and income with their children, being transparent about money is important for teaching financial literacy and encouraging responsible spending from an early age.
4. Chores And Housework
One of the best ways to teach your children responsibility is to engage them in small chores around the house. Assign your child tasks that are appropriate for their age, and make sure to be encouraging as they try to complete them.
For example, you can ask your child to put away their toys after they are done playing, help you set/clear up the table after dinner, make their bed, feed the pets, help with the dishes, and take the trash out. Once your child is older, you can ask them to help you with laundry, mowing the lawn, or chopping up vegetables for lunch.
Importantly, try not to assign chores or duties as a punishment for your child, as this can lead them to view chores as a drag. Instead, teach them that managing household tasks is an important real-life skill that can help them become more independent and responsible.
While most parents don’t view independence as a skill, being independent is an essential trait you can encourage in your child early on.
Parents usually tend to complete their child’s tasks as it’s cleaner, quicker, and easier. But if you want your children to grow into independent adults who can thrive on their own, it’s important to allow them to get hands-on with daily activities.
Teach your child to be responsible for their personal belongings, clean up after themselves, finish their work independently, and so on. This doesn’t mean that you have to leave your children to do everything by themselves, but simply allow them the space to experience things for themselves and become more confident in their abilities and actions.
6. Time Management
In today’s fast-paced world, time management is a critical skill that nobody can do without. Teaching your child how to manage their time well and balance school, extra-curriculars, family, social life, and hobbies is very important.
Encourage your child to make use of to-do lists or planners, and prioritize what’s important so they don’t get pulled in all directions. Once your child learns how to manage their time, give them more control over their schedule and only intervene when help is needed.
Empathy in an individual results from good socialization and emotional skills that develop early in life. While many people think empathy is intrinsic, it’s possible to teach your child to understand and practice compassion from a young age.
One way to teach your children empathy is to encourage them to consider different perspectives through pretend play. For example, pause when reading your child their favorite book and ask them how they think a particular character feels in the moment and why. Present them with various scenarios and ask them about the best response in such a situation.
However, you should remember that empathy isn’t one-dimensional. If you want your child to grow into a caring and empathetic individual, make sure you model these qualities for them. If you build solid and meaningful relationships with others and practice empathy in your daily life, your child will learn best from your example.