9 Life Skills for Kids
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Becoming independent is one of the most important life skills for kids. As they attempt age-appropriate chores, their self-confidence increases and they begin to see themselves as capable of contributing to the community around them. It’s tricky to find the balance when encouraging children to become independent. Am I pushing them too far or could they be trying more new things? Here are a few guidelines that will help you to encourage independence in your child.
Children at school should be able to:
Take care of their own personal hygiene
This includes going to the toilet, blowing their nose, washing their hands and fastening shoes and clothing.
Be responsible for their belongings
It might be quicker for you to do it, but let them carry their own bag to and from the classroom, and organise their own hat, drink bottle and reading folder. I couldn’t count the times that children in my class have struggled to find their own belongings during the day because their parents have not been teaching them chores for their age!
Mum Hack: Make taking care of their belongings more exciting our great range of personalised school supplies. With so many cool designs to choose from, kids will have so much fun customising their gear. You can check them out here.
Manage their food during lunchtime
Show your child how to open packets and containers, and let them practise at home. Some clever parents will even cut small openings in the corner to get the process started, just until children have mastered this skill.
Speak for themselves
Be purposeful in letting your kids speak for themselves as they are growing up. Encourage your child to ask questions if they need information and respond when spoken to by others. If we don’t practice that, we run the risk of our kids not knowing how to voice their thoughts, feelings, and opinions when they are old enough to leave home.
Interact with their peers
The classroom is the perfect place for children to develop their social interaction skills. The friendships and social interaction that they cultivate there are extremely important for their wellbeing. You can help them rehearse social situations if you feel that making friends doesn’t come naturally to your child.
Once these skills are mastered, older children can work on:
Keep track of homework tasks
Ok, I know this is frustrating when your child is panicked because their spelling isn’t done! But accepting consequences if homework is incomplete is part of the learning process.
Mum Hack: Don’t let your assignments overwhelm you! With our functional Study Planner, you and your child can keep track of what’s due and when there are upcoming things like exams or quizzes.
Walk to the classroom by themselves
Saying goodbye at the gate and walking into school with friends is a real confidence boost for older kids. And yes, the teacher will see you peeking in the classroom window to make sure they made it safely!
Prepare their own lunch for school
Provide a variety of options and allow them to choose and pack their food for the day.
Choose extra-curricular activities
Allowing children to choose after-school activities based on their own skills or interests helps them develop their own identity. You might be surprised by what they would like to try out.
You know your child best – help them master new chores by age as they become ready and support them on the path to becoming confident and independent!
Lauren is a teacher, wife and mum of three children, aged 9, 6 and 1. She started her blog Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep in 2012 to share ideas and support other teachers wanting to make learning hands-on and engaging. Now with children herself, she combines her teaching and parenting experience to create resources that are developmentally appropriate and fun. When not busy in the classroom or at home, Lauren enjoys travelling, the beach and reading a good book.