“Life skills” is a buzzword parents have heard about, but what kind of life skills should you teach your child?
“In this fast-paced and ever-changing world, it is no longer sufficient to teach your child to memorise answers just so to pass examinations,” Patricia Koh, chief executive of the Maplebear chain of preschools and a veteran of the early childhood education industry, explains.
“To prepare her for the future, it is also important you raise her to become a responsible, respectful and valuable global citizen.”
Give her a good headstart with these life skills:
Your child naturally has lots of questions about the world around her. Encourage her eagerness to learn and explore from a young age. Guide her to search for the answers through exploring, experimenting, and asking further questions to help your little one become an active learner.
Speaking up and expressing her feelings will help others better understand your child’s needs. She should also be taught to stand up for herself or others by communicating clearly if the situation arises.
This is useful as you will not be able to be there for your child all the time. As she grows older, conveying her thoughts effectively is also required at school and an asset in the workplace.
Resolving disagreements amicably
It is essential that children learn to build positive relationships, resolve conflicts and settle disagreements amicably on their own.
Disagreements are inevitable in life so a child must learn to respect differences in others and to manage her emotions and behaviours. She should pay more attention to her own feelings and understand the effect of words on others.
(Also read: 10 ways to raise an independent child)
Most children are confident and have little fear of trying new things until grown-ups tell them they are not good enough. Encourage and nurture your child’s passions and talents, and allow her to explore as safely possible. You will be there to support them.
(Also read: 4 ways to boost your child’s confidence)
The future jobs available for the next generation require them to think out of the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems. A creative child will also be better at solving problems and be more adaptable to change.
You can create opportunities for messy play like painting or sand castle building, as well as allow your child the time and space to enjoy unstructured and imaginative play. By being more encouraging of failure, your little one will feel safe to take risks, learn from their mistakes and be able to express themselves creatively.
Life doesn’t always go as planned. And your child will have to understand and learn to cope with disappointments. For example, she expected to spend the day at the park but it rained heavily the whole day.
Teach her to be able to accept change of plans. Encourage her to plan ahead with alternatives or take the opportunity to remind her of the things that truly matter, like spending time with family wherever it may be.
(Also read: Is your kid afraid to fail? Here’s what you must do)
In a world where everyone is increasingly hooked to their smart devices, it is crucial to connect with your child as much as you can. Whether through playtime at the park, dinner conversations or bedtime stories, you can help remind her to appreciate nature and understand that she has a part to play in protecting this wonderful planet we call home.
Encourage her to show compassion towards animals, plants, as well as others around her.
(Also read: Why fathers should bond with their children)
Even adults can be coached to practise positive self-talk for better outcomes; children should be reminded to stay positive in the face of challenges. Explain to her that she will be able to come up with solutions more easily if she stays focused and believe in herself. Things do not always go her way but she can keep her spirits up and persevere.
(Also read: 12 ways to use positive discipline with your child)
Playing well with others
Recognising the value of teamwork is a life skill that cannot be overlooked. In our interconnected and multicultural society, a child must learn to accept others for their differences and be able to combine the strengths of a group to achieve a common goal.
She can learn to be open to ideas and be more mindful of others’ thoughts and feelings. This also inculcates empathy and she becomes more tolerant of differing opinions.
A love of reading and learning
The more a child reads, the more she learns, picks up new skills and opens her mind to endless possibilities and perspectives. Her eagerness for knowledge is priceless so teach her the many ways to gather information and learn, not just from textbooks.
With much love and patience, your little one will learn to understand the importance of these skills. But remember, her greatest role model is you. Your preschooler observes how you behave and react, and mimics what she sees. Hence it is essential to be a mindful parent who is always present for your child.