Five ways to prepare children with the life skills they need.
Although my children, at eight years old and three years old, are still quite young, I have been thinking about ways that I can help them to practice life skills they may need as adults. I think there are certain skills that children can be learning from a young age. Here are my top five.
1. Help them to get to know food.
I am from a family of farmers and my Mum is a trained cook so from an early age, I was learning about food. I knew which meat came from each animal, how wheat and barley are grown and harvested as well as the processes involved in getting milk from cows from the farm into the shops. I knew how pigs and chickens were cared for. I helped my grandparents and parents to grow our own vegetables in the garden. I tasted freshly grown peas, potatoes, fresh runner beans, cabbage, plums, pears, apples, lettuce and had fun finding the weirdest shaped carrots. My children don’t see the farm much as I did but I like to talk to them about my experiences as well as to take them to local public farms to see the animals. We have grown our own fruit and vegetables in our garden. We also make most of our food from scratch, due to our food intolerances. I think that this helps my children to understand what they are eating. I think getting to know about different foods is an important life skill for children to start learning at a young age.
2. Learn how to sew.
I think that learning how to sew is useful for any child. We always have fun sewing and we have made all sorts of things over the years. Starting with felt has been the best thing for us, as it doesn’t fray like some other fabrics. This week, I worked with H to make a parrot and S made a storage pocket mainly on his own. They both designed these themselves. I think this skill is important as they will both be able to repair their own clothes when they are older. Also, if they want to become vets or surgeons one day (H’s dream job at the moment), they will need sewing skills to help any animals or people that need stitching up.
3. To learn how to communicate effectively.
I have met too many angry people over the years. Most of them only show anger due to not knowing how to handle their own emotions, thinking their way is the only way or not being able to communicate their feelings effectively. As children, I think it is important to experience a wide range of emotions and to talk about the emotions they are feeling. I also think that it is important to validate every emotion and to not deny a child of feeling the way they feel. Being told that you should not feel sad about losing your favourite toy, to ‘man up’ or be told that you should feel differently to the way you actually feel can bring about a lot of frustrations. This can affect how people behave as children and adults. Communicating feelings effectively by talking them through and being allowed to feel the way you/your child feels helps them to learn this important life skill.
4. To learn how to fix things.
As the daughter of a joiner, I have spent many years with Dad making a variety of wooden objects and helping him to do DIY around the house. S has recently started creating wooden boxes and other items with his Granddad to help him to know more about how to use tools that will help him when he has his own home one day.
5. Encourage them to read, read, read…
I believe that reading opens up whole new worlds for children and adults alike. If you read, you can learn all sorts. Pretty much anything you can think of has been written about. Having a love of reading unlocks so many doors for so many people. I think that this is a very important skill to have.
Which life skills do you think are important for children to learn from an early age?