It’s a mistake for any parent to consider that education begins and ends in the school. Thankfully, this is not the attitude that a lot of parents have, but it’s important to think about what it really means for your child, as well. If school is going to teach them everything they need to graduate, what else do you need to teach them? Here, we’re going to look at a range of skills, from the academic to the athletic to the life-enhancing, that you should make sure you’re teaching your child as they grow up.
Skills Worth Teaching Your Kids Outside Of School
If there’s one skill that every individual should ensure they have, it’s to be able to put food on their own table. Of course, which recipes your child can follow and how much help they might need as they learn is going to depend on their age. However, there are plenty of cooking lessons for children of various ages. From basic baking recipes (such as using storebought cupcake batter) to then cooking full meals, you should help your child get to grips with and get comfortable with cooking. Plus, it can be a pretty fun way to spend time together, with the reward of having something (that is hopefully delicious) to eat at the end.
In the vast majority of cases, your children are also going to have to fend for themselves in their own household at some point, as well. Aside from preparing them for when that happens, getting them involved in household chores can be important for teaching them to share responsibility. There are some gendered expectations that a lot of parents still teach when it comes to who does what in the home. Every child should learn how to tidy their room, how to do laundry, how to change their bedding, how to wash dishes (or use the dishwasher), and more. Otherwise, they can grow into young adults that might have a little trouble managing the standards of their own household. Teach them the habit now and they’re more likely to stick to it as they get older.
Using a computer
This might sound like something of a pointless exercise. We’ve all grown up with the idea that the younger generation takes to new technology even faster than their parents, so why would you need to teach your kids how to use a computer? Well, for a start, computers aren’t the most common type of technology that the youth engages with these days. That goes to smartphones and tablets. As a result, some schools have actually been having problems with children having a hard time learning to use the mouse and keyboard set up. There are plenty of programs that you can use to teach your child to get comfortable with these to the point of being able to touch type without any issue.
Getting your kids active outside of school and outside of their PE classes is important, as well. The good thing is that kids are full of energy, so it’s not hard to get them moving. Often, you simply need to provide a little additional motivation. Cycling with your kids is great for a number of reasons. First of all, cycling is a great way of getting around and might even be their primary method of commuting in the future, especially if they grow up to be a little more environmentally minded. It’s also great as it’s something that you can do together that keeps the whole family healthy, but it also gets them out into the outdoors, exploring new environments and getting plenty of fresh air.
You might not need to get too far away from home to get your child active. Swimming is an excellent exercise both in terms of fighting obesity and in building strength and coordination. There are plenty of other benefits to finding a swim school near you, too. For one, your child being able to swim might very well be important for their physical safety at some point or another. Water is a common enough element, you want to make sure that your child can navigate it. Learning to swim, which might seem daunting at the start, is also a great way to instill confidence in them when they’re able to do it well, too.
Making emergency calls
Though you might not like to think of your child being stuck in a situation where they are the one having to act calm in an emergency situation, it is possible that it might happen. Your child might have to make a call for their own safety, or in the event that some around them (even you) is injured or in danger, and they are the only person who can act. Teaching your child the emergency number and how they can call that number can be important in saving a life in the event of a fire or medical emergency. Of course, they also have to be taught that this number can only be called in a true emergency as well, with examples of when they should make the call.
One skill that most young adults will agree they did not get to learn enough about is that of managing their money. The idea of earning and spending money might seem simple, but managing a budget that takes into account a range of different needs is important, as well. Teaching your children skills such as saving up for money, and paying off debts can easily be done at home before they’re out in the wide world, where the consequences of a bad financial decision can haunt them for years. As they get a little older, teaching them about credit is just as important in helping them be able to get a car or own a home later in life, too.
We live in an age of mass media consumption. Children are clicking media often before they’re able to fully formulate their own thoughts on it, not to mention then sharing it with others. Teaching your children media literacy and media etiquette is a process to be done in the long term. However, getting them to think about the media they consume, the different levels of “reality” to their media, and how to recognize things like scams and false information is important. As they get on the internet, they are going to need a healthy sense of skepticism and the ability to parse out valuable information from the rest, and this has to be taught to them as soon as they start using digital devices.
To say that you should teach your children “moral values” might seem somewhat loaded, it’s important to clarify that you should have your children thinking about ethics and morals, i.e., “what is right” from an early age. No one can tell which moral values, exactly, you should be teaching your children. That is, in large part, up to you, and up to them as to which of them they prioritize. Teaching them patience, understanding, the desire to help others, and to ask for help are all good examples of moral values. Religion can play a large role for many parents, but secular parents can construct a good series of moral value lessons just as well.
Think about your child’s current stage of development and what skills they could start to learn now. The above examples are not exhaustive, either. Consider what skills you might think they should be bringing to life as they go on.