Basic Life Skills All Children/Students Need to Have
Independence and confidence are traits all children need to reach their potential. Kids who are sure of themselves are more likely to excel at school, and to feel more happy and secure.
Basic life skills also provide a foundation for higher order skills such as organisation, problem solving, critical thinking and self-control.
All children should be able to:
Complete Chores Independently
From a young age, children should have age-appropriate responsibilities around the house. This can start with simply putting their toys away, cleaning their room and packing their school bag.
To develop a sense of responsibility, kids also need to contribute to household tasks. It’s tempting for parents to step in when kids are taking too long, but it’s very important that children learn to complete tasks on their own. This builds confidence and independence.
Follow a Recipe
Learning to follow a recipe teaches children how to read instructions, and measure and mix ingredients. Kids also learn about the chemical processes involved in cooking.
Encourage your child to plan and cook their favourite dishes regularly. It’s a good idea to include them in mealtime preparation as part of their chores so they become accustomed to handling food.
Care for a Pet
There are so many benefits for children in having a pet. While dogs and cats make wonderful family companions, smaller pets such as guinea pigs, fish, birds and mice can also teach children a great deal about caring and responsibility.
Kids who are responsible for feeding a pet and cleaning up after it develop the ability to think of others’ needs. The recognition they can care for a living creature instils confidence.
Practice First Aid
All children should know the basics of first aid, including how to clean and bandage a wound and apply pressure to stop bleeding. Many schools offer first aid courses, but it’s important to reinforce the basics at home.
Make sure your first aid kit is accessible and that your child is familiar with its contents. If your child injures themselves, carefully explain what you’re doing as you disinfect and cover the wound.
Save and Budget
Most kids get pocket money, or cash and gift cards for birthdays and Christmas. This represents a perfect opportunity to teach them about how to manage money.
Help your child open a bank account to deposit cash. Encourage them to budget and research what they want to buy to make the most of their money. Saving is an essential life skill as it teaches kids to delay gratification for future rewards.
Make Good Decisions
Kids need practice in making decisions for themselves. To help your child develop this important skill, give them the opportunity to make choices regularly.
It helps to give kids a few options to choose from rather than a blank slate. Teach them how to weigh up the pros and cons of each choice to make the best decision. As they get older, include kids in family decisions whenever possible, as this gives them a sense of responsibility and belonging.
Spend Time Alone
In today’s hyper-connected world, kids are accustomed to being entertained all the time. However, the ability to spend time alone in reflection is an essential skill.
Time alone aids creativity and encourages deeper thought. Teens who are comfortable in their own company are less prone to anxiety, depression and social media addiction. Parents can encourage reflection by modelling this behaviour and teaching mindfulness techniques.
These basic life skills will set the foundation for future success.