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We’re lucky to live in a part of the world where the school system is excellent. When our children leave school they know how to read and write, they know about history and religion and have their creative flair nurtured through art and music. However, schools can’t teach our kids everything and there are a number of skills that we as parents need to teach. Some of these things, the schools will skim the surface but we can delve much deeper and secure skills that will benefit our kids throughout their lives and into adulthood. Here are some examples.
Money can be a difficult concept for kids to understand. When they ask for things but we’re not able to afford them, they might see it as unfair or unjust- as though they’re being purposely withheld. An understanding of money is so important, it helps them to understand where you’re coming from when you tell them they can’t have that brand new smartphone or that they have to wait for Christmas for big presents like bicycles and designer clothes (if they’re lucky!) It also teaches them responsibility and generally is a skill that every individual needs to master by adulthood. You can teach kids the value of money by having them do age appropriate chores for their pocket money. Encourage them to save for the things they want but let them waste their money from time to time so they can understand that once it’s gone it’s gone. That money is an finite resource and once it’s gone you have to work hard to earn more.
Swimming is a skill that could save your child’s life. Not only is it good exercise and fun, but if they were to fall into a pool or lake you want peace of mind that they’ll know what to do. See if there are swimming lessons for their age group at your local pool, if they’re nervous and need some extra help you could always look into private swimming lessons. These can help them to build their confidence.
Map reading is becoming a lost skill. Now that everyone has satellite navigation on their smartphones it can feel like something pointless to be learned. But again, it could save their lives one day. Map reading and orienteering can be a fun skill for kids to learn too. Teach them how to read a traditional paper map and use a compass. Ideally, everyone should be able to navigate their way around without smartphones. Go on fun camping holidays and to woods, fields and other scenic places and get your map out. Make it a really fun learning experience.
Everyone should have the ability to feed themselves, understand basic ingredients and flavour combinations. Teaching your children how to cook and encouraging a love of healthy food from a young age will put them on the right path in adulthood. Cooking with your children so they understand the processes involved, get them to help you out and when they’re old enough, encourage them to start making simple dishes themselves. The school will likely have some kind of cookery or food tech but you can add to this yourself as a parent. So many teenagers and young adults leave home for college or university without having a clue how to make even the simplest of dishes. Combined with budgeting, being able to cook for themselves is one of the best skills they can have moving out of home.
Empathy is often seen as something ingrained into us humans, but it doesn’t really work that way. We all have the capacity for empathy and the ability to learn it, but it is actually a learned quality. This means we have to teach our children right from wrong, and to empathise with other people. It’s such an important skill, to be able to put yourself in another’s shoes and understand their feelings helps with their own learning- as well as develop connections with others.
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