When did you first learn to ride a bike, cook your first meal or read your first book? Chances are it was a memorable experience. Teaching your child practical life skills that will prepare them for adulthood is one of the most important and rewarding aspects of being a parent – and it’s fun, too. Here are a few practical life skills to teach your child before the age of twelve.
- How to cook
Learning how to feed yourself in a way that is healthy and nutritious is a skill that we all need every day as adults. But all too often, children’s cooking lessons are limited to baking cakes and licking cooking dough off a spoon, which isn’t very healthy. When teaching your child how to cook, make sure they are involved in making healthy, savoury recipes too. There are many meals you can start with that require little preparation: tacos, salads, smoothies, pasta bakes, mini pizzas and more.
- How to save and money
Giving pocket money can be a useful way of teaching children how to save. Give your child the challenge of saving up enough money to buy something they really want. It teaches your child the value of saving money and patience! If their pocket money isn’t enough to achieve their goal in a realistic timeframe, offer your child the chance to perform a task such as washing the car, mowing the lawn or even household data entry for a small amount to speed up the process.
- How to enjoy reading
Children loves stories and using their imaginations. In an age where iPads destroy attention spans, disconnecting for half an hour every day (yes, that means you too) and sitting together with a book can be a great bonding experience. Depending on your child’s age, you can either read to them or encourage them to read with you. Set up a comfortable reading space at the same time each day and discover your old favourites all over again. If your child associates reading with affection and joy, they are more likely to appreciate reading as they get older. Here are a few book ideas to get you started.
- How to clean
Tidying doesn’t have to be a chore. Turn cleaning into a game by encouraging your child to fight the messiness monster and vanquish dirt. Make it part of your daily routine to involve your child when cleaning the kitchen after a meal or tidying their bedroom. Put on your child’s favourite songs, don your gloves, and work together as a team. Just make sure you keep them out of harm’s way when it comes to using cleaning products.
- How to ride a bike
Teaching your child to ride a bike can be a fun and terrifying experience for the both of you. But it is a skill that your child will not forget. So put a helmet on your child, find a safe, quiet spot, and start. Brace yourself for grazed knees and tears of pain – just know that there will also tears of pride when your child finally starts to cycle without training wheels. For tips on how to get started, read this guide on how to teach your child to ride a bike.
- How to meditate
This one might seem odd and unfamiliar, but mindfulness is increasingly being recognised as an important skill for improving focus and overcoming anxiety. There is no way that you can protect your child from the stresses of life, but by teaching your child a few simple breathing exercises, you can help them to cope more effectively with whatever comes their way.