10 Essential Life Lessons for Kids that Modern Parents Need to Know
During the school year, your kids spend most of their time at school, doing homework, participating in sports or other activities, or maybe even have a part-time job. But, there are still things that parents can do every day to help their children’s learning and development.
Read on to discover the 10 most crucial life skills for kids in 2018!
1. The Art of Conversation
Encourage meaningful conversation. Good conversationalists are good listeners. Keep communication lines open with your children from a young age, and engage them in conversation as often as you can! Today’s kids are quite busy, so picking a good time to chat is important. A good time to start a conversation is when your child is relaxed. Try talking while driving your child to and from school or other activities, while walking the dog together, or at dinnertime. Ask your kids about their day, their friends, and their interests. Who is their favorite teacher? What school projects are they working on? What happened to them today that was funny? Make sure to keep conversations encouraging, upbeat, and fun.
2. Lending a Helping Hand
Life skills for kids include helping others. Teach your child how to do simple tasks, like holding doors open, helping an elderly neighbor, or befriending the new kid at school. Look for volunteer opportunities that you and your child might enjoy doing together, like helping out at an animal sanctuary or manning a water table at a charity running event. Activities such as these help your children feel like they are an important part of their communities.
3. Managing Time
Like we mentioned earlier, kids today are busier than ever. They play soccer, take music lessons, and participate in chess tournaments. Life skills for kids should also include doing chores to help out the family, like walking and cleaning up after the dog, tidying their rooms, or doing the dishes. Helping your child learn how to balance work and play is an important part of child development. Purchase calendars with a large space for every day of the month for younger children. Decorate them with stickers and leave room for listing activities and homework deadlines. Buying older children and teenagers a daily planner is sure way to help them organize their time so that they can meet deadlines and other commitments. Your child’s development also depends upon scheduling time for downtime. Knowing how to manage stress is an important life lesson for kids.
4. Map Reading
Today, more than ever, we are fortunate to have cars and cell phones equipped with GPS, but what if you lose your signal? The skill of map reading should be on everyone’s list of life skills. Buy a local map and look at it with your children. When you are driving with your children in your vehicle, point out the names of commonly traveled roads and intersections. Take the opportunity when traveling with your children to stop by the local visitor center and pick up a copy of a local map to learn how to navigate in a new city or town.
5. Grocery Shopping and Meal Preparation
An integral part of your children’s learning is how to cook. Start slowly by teaching your children how to do basic things in the kitchen, like boiling an egg or chopping a tomato. Always under parental supervision, of course! One of the most important life lessons for kids is knowing how to plan a meal and purchase groceries. Help your children search for a recipe and make a shopping list of all necessary ingredients. At the grocery store, teach your children how to read nutritional labels and how to do a cost comparison of similar items. Once you bring your groceries home, assist your children with the meal preparation, if needed, and always be nearby to assist.
6. Managing Finances
Another important life lesson for kids is how to manage their money. Some kids sell items online, receive an allowance, gifts on special occasions, or babysit. Part of your child’s development is learning how to save money. Buy a piggy bank for small children or reuse a glass jar so that they can see their money growing. Encourage your kids to keep a diary where they can keep details about money they have received and spent. Educate older kids about how financial institutions work and basic tasks like how to write a check. Don’t forget to discuss the importance of keeping bank account information in a safe place and protecting their personal identification number (PIN) if they have a debit card. Consider getting them a prepaid debit card, such as Advance America’s Visa ® Prepaid Card.
7. Emergency Preparedness
Life lessons for kids should always include emergency preparedness. Ask your child to make a list of items they think they might need in the event of a flood, snowstorm, hurricane, or fire. Prepare for household emergencies by making a family First Aid kit that includes bandages, gauze, pain relievers, and topical antibiotics. Enrolling your older children or teenagers in a CPR or First Aid class will contribute to their growing list of life skills. If your older children or teenagers babysit, enroll them in a certified course for the safe care of infants and children.
8. Trip Planning
Another important life lesson for kids is vacation planning. Arrange for your children to plan a short trip or vacation for your family. One-day trips or weekend family getaways, such as a camping trip or amusement park visits, are simple ways to start. Give your child some guidelines, such as budget, length of trip, and distance from home. Allow for creativity when it comes to planning for lodging, meals, and activities. Guide your child when doing internet searches or library research to ensure a successful trip.
9. Maintaining a Vehicle
Once your children grow up and get behind the wheel, it’s important for them to learn how to maintain their vehicles. To begin, show your children what to look for before they turn the ignition key, such as checking for flat or low tires. Teach them the importance of checking the instrument panel on the dashboard for warnings, such as low oil, gas, or a hot engine. Learning how to pump gas, change a tire, and do an oil change, can also add to your teen driver’s confidence. Check to see if there is an auto maintenance class for kids, or, if you are handy, teach them these skills yourself. Enrolling in a roadside emergency assistance program is also a plus, especially if you work and cannot get to them quickly if they get a flat tire. Make sure your children add emergency phone numbers into their cell phone, and that they carry their insurance cards and registration with them whenever they drive.
10. Preparing for a Job Interview
Another important life lesson for kids is learning discipline and responsibility. Nothing teaches that to a youngster more than having a part-time job. Once your children reach legal working age, help them look for a job that won’t interfere with their schoolwork. Many employment applications can be found online. Help your children find employment references and write down their phone numbers and addresses. Another life skill for kids is learning how to write a cover letter and resume. There are many helpful online how-to articles as well as downloadable templates that you can use. Teenagers can begin building their resumes by making lists of their academic accomplishments, volunteer experiences, athletic awards, certifications and training, and work experiences. One part of your child’s development is learning how to exude confidence. Help them prepare for a job interview by conducting mock interviews home and providing helpful and positive feedback.