You must be aware of how important life skills are for you or anyone else to succeed in life. Let us think about what will happen if we do not possess these life skills.
Being a parent requires a lot of patience and time management skills. What will happen if you don’t have these skills? Or you want to buy a house and you don’t have negotiation and good temper skills? You might not realize it but you have developed all these important skills over the years to be where you are in life.
In the current COVID-19 scenario, everyone is trapped inside their houses with minimal physical interaction with the outside world. Everyone is confined in the four walls of their homes with their family members. The same is the case with the parents who now have to make sure that their child is not just gaining academic knowledge but also developing important life skills while growing up.
So what are those important life skills for your child to succeed and what should you do to ensure that your child is equipped with those life skills?
What are life skills?
Life skills are the skills that you acquire through learning or through your personal experiences in life. These skills help you to solve problems effectively and reasonably that you encounter in life.
“When children are truly involved in the scientific process they gain understanding, knowledge, and life skills. They deepen their awareness of what’s going on around them and how others contribute to their well being.”
– Lilian Katz, Professor Emerita of Early Childhood Education
7 life skills that you should have while growing up
As the children grow they need to develop certain life skills according to their age. Some children might take more time but that is completely okay. The important thing is you should constantly be there to support your child. Let them develop these skills in the most natural way
You might be protective of your child at times but letting them do things on their own will help the children feel confident and develop life skills in the process.
“If you never allow your children to exceed what they can do, how are they ever going to manage adult life- where a lot of it is managing more than you thought you could manage?”
-Ellen Galinsky, President at Families and Work Institute
Ellen Galinsky, in her book “Mind in the Making”, describes 7 life skills necessary for success in all aspects of life. Your child can learn these skills at an early age even while staying at home.
- Focus & Self-Control
- Making Connections
- Critical Thinking
- Taking on Challenges
- Self-Directed, Engaged Learning
How can your child develop the 7 life-skills according to their age?
Don’t worry about it. We have listed down the activities you can do with your child to make sure they develop the skills.
1. Focus & Self-Control
It is one of the most important skills for your child. If the child is not focused and loses self-control then it surely will be challenging to achieve the desired goals.
The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a study on delayed gratification in 1972 led by psychologist Walter Mischel, a professor at Stanford University. In the study, a child was offered a choice between one small but immediate reward, or two small rewards if they waited for a period of time. The study concluded that children who were able to wait longer for the rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores.
An activity for you to do at home can be that you can decide an allowance for your child for a week. And if they are able to save a certain pre-decided amount then you can give them some reward. They can further collect these rewards and later on redeem them to get a gift. This way they can focus on the end goal and control themselves to save money. This will not just teach them to focus and self-control but also the importance of budgeting and saving.
You must have observed that a lot of times children get into a quarrel with their peers, parents, or anyone if they feel that others have different thoughts, feelings, or knowledge. It is really important for the child to understand the perspective of others.
Whenever you are watching a movie or reading a storybook together with your child, ask them what the different characters would do if they were facing the same situation. This will let them analyze the characters in the movie/story and think from different perspectives.
This is the skill which is lacking the most today as people are busy in their lives and don’t get time to communicate with each other. In such scenarios, the child is also left alone with no one to communicate with which later on in life becomes very challenging.
You can have a small session every week with the child where they are given pictures and it is their turn to create a story out of it. Children love stories so let them use their imaginations this time and come up with some interesting stories.
4. Making Connections
This skill helps your child to identify connections and patterns around you. Your child can easily solve the problem if they are able to identify the pattern and hence come up with an effective solution for it.
A very simple activity can be to let your child help you in the daily chore like sorting the clothes or decorating the room. While you are with them you can help them identify the pattern. These connections are always in our memory and we use it to do different day to day activities.
5. Critical Thinking
It is an essential skill to solve problems effectively and efficiently. It lets your child analyze and evaluate the problem. To make the child think strategically to solve a problem, you need to make them practice from an early age.
A very basic activity could be to let your child create a vacation plan or write steps to follow when anyone steps out of the house during the COVID times. This way they will analyze the situation and have some creative solution to avoid the risks. Planning ahead will also help them be organized
6. Taking on Challenges
This skill will help your child cope up with the challenges they will face in life. A lot of times they might feel that the problem is challenging and better to give up. This skill will help them cope with the challenge and become resilient.
Challenge your child to complete a task in a limited amount of time. You can take their help cooking. Ask them to make a sandwich for themselves within 30 seconds. Such small unexpected challenges will make the child think effectively.
7. Self-Directed, Engaged Learning
To make the child love learning it is important for you to provide a healthy space for them to explore and learn by themselves. This way not only will they learn to enjoy the learning process but also will be enthusiastic to learn and realize their potential.
Spare some time out of the screen and play some educational board games after dinner. It will provide autonomy to the child to strategize on how to win the game. Learning while playing will keep the child engaged and focused.
All these skills are linked to one another. Your child has to have all of them to have a successful and happy life. So why delay now? Let’s start from today itself.