HOW TO DEVELOP LIFE SKILLS IN EARLY YEARS

01.02.2019

Life skills, as we know, equip kids to manage the day to day challenges of life optimistically. But we live in a gadget-centric life, where there’s less time, more machines and tons of options to distract kids from learning new things.

Why life skills are important for children:

The children today are too busy living the amusing virtual world. That is why it is utmost important that parents take additional efforts to ensure their little ones learn behavioural skills in their early childhood. Life skills are precious lessons which your kid can use throughout their lifetime.

Learning life skills begins with parents:

Learning life skills for kids starts with parents. Therefore, you have an essential role in implanting life skills on your little one. Remember how our elders instilled life skills in us as a way of life. The process was very natural so that we don’t even know we are learning something. Helping mom in cleaning the room and in gardening, or reading a bedtime story, were a few ways in which we learned life skills activities. Even today, our decision making process is subconsciously influenced by what we learned as a child from our parents.

Nurturing emotions:

Kids are highly emotional. Just like adults, they are also vulnerable to mood swings. Likewise, while some incidents boost their self-esteem, some can really bog them down, scarring their mental well-being. Spending lots of time with your baby is essential. Even if you have to compromise on the quantity of time, never compromise on the quality time spends with your little one. With life skills activities, parents can learn the importance of nurturing a child and help them to manage their emotions well through various situations. If your kid is hurt, ask them what hurt them, remind them of happy times and help them cope with the situation without personal grudges.

Growing relationships:

When they get the freedom to share, speak out and express kids blossom. It is a well-known fact. With life skills, kids learn the importance of listening. Listening needs patience. When they talk, they unveil the storyteller in them. The more you let them tell, more their imagination and vocabulary increases. So ask them about their day and listen to them carefully when they are sharing. If needed, put your phone aside and focus on them. This makes them feel important and also teaches them to listen carefully when someone speaks to them.

Making decisions:

The world has plenty and more options for everything today. In such a scenario, learning to make wise choices is necessary. Making good decisions along with problem solving is a life skill every child should start learning from the early stage itself. It is equally important for your little one to understand the ill effects of a bad decision and advantages of a right decision. Through life skills, kids can be helped in making informed choices. Involve your children while making important decisions. Also, share with them the consequences attached to making individual choices. Ask them if they understand how the results would impact them. This develops a responsible attitude, and they own their decisions.

Encourage the love for learning:

It is imperative to implant love for learning in your little one from the early stage itself. Not all the kids are good learners. Several factors influence a child’s willingness to learn. However, through life skills, you can enhance your child’s love for learning. Reading, encouraging constant communication, focussing on the interest of your child (this varies from child to child), concentrating on their strength and then slowly enhancing their weakness, making learning fun (Game-based learning will help you here) are some of the means to encourage the love for learning.

Life skills show a complete picture:

Life skills are building blocks that allow the little to apply the information they attain in the home to real-world problems and situations. If we don't instil life skills education in kids at an early age, they tend to face the world with an incomplete picture. Losing the self-esteem is one of the consequences of not introducing life skills in the early stages. This leads to them taking things personally, are not inclusive and get stressed about situations, rather than having a resolving approach. If this continues, they grow into being an unhappy person leading them towards an unhealthy future.

Be the friend your kids need:

Parents should take an active role in teaching life-skills at home. Kids are usually wiser and more understanding than we give them credit for. Since they are absorbed in gadgets and gaming, they seldom get opportunities to show it. So, be their friend. Join them in learning life skills. Set up a "Us time" when you both learn and share with each other. Form logs to keep an account of learning. This way the adapting life skills will become fun for them and you.

So, are we set for teaching life skills?

Further Reading: Setting New Parenting Goals