5 tips for teaching practical life skills

Teaching life skills to kids is so important. I think for a child to excel in life, life skills must be an integral part of what the child learns from early on. When I set up my school, I made sure it was infused into the curriculum and I am so glad I did. There are so many life skills that would be beneficial and it may be daunting to decide which ones to go with first.

For now I am focusing on getting the kids to know their history( I may do a separate post on this later on), praying and Bible reading, cleanliness and housekeeping, book reading(one story book per week), focus and self control (teaching this can be challenging) and empathy.

For those who are interested but do not know how to, here are a few guidelines:

1. Patience: you need a high dose of patience to teach life skills to kids. This never crossed my mind until I got started. They are kids and they may not get it right at first, you may be required to keep on reminding them on the importance of cleanliness or whichever life skill you are teaching.

2. Consistency: you do not teach something once and leave it there. It doesn’t work with adults and would definitely not work with kids. One way to be consistent is to incorporate the said skill into your daily or weekly routine.

3. Practice what you teach: I needed my kids to read more rather than watch them become the tv zombies they are/were gradually morphing into. Sometimes, I would turn off the tv and announce ‘reading time’. I would pick up my book and ask them to pick up theirs. So while they are reading, I’m reading too.

4. Justify the skill: This is hands down my favourite part of teaching a skill. Explain to them why they need to learn this. Mine usually takes the form of ‘ Do you know why you need to read more books?’, then I let them guess. ‘Well here is why I think reading books will help you…’. In the end they understand the need for that skill.

5. Correct in love: when they get it wrong, don’t get mad. Understand that teaching your child to do dishes may mean one or two plates or mugs get broken and that’s okay. Teaching your child laundry may mean that as they learn, a few clothes may get stained and that is okay. There will be mistakes until they perfect the skill.

What life skills are you presently teaching to your children?

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