Essential Life Skills – What Do Our Children Need To Know?

Children these days are absolute whizzes but sadly lack wisdom and practicality. They can explain the intricate workings of the latest mobile phone, iPad, smart phone or computer but are at a complete loss when it comes to practical and essential life stuff.

I constantly had young graduates coming to work with me that had degrees and masters by the dozen but zip when it came to common sense and usable daily life skills.

So what’s the reason for this lack?

Many parents simply leave their children’s development in this area to fate and hope for the best. If I’m honest, when we started out as parents, that was our attitude too. It’s only as our children grew and we became frustrated in certain areas that we realised we needed to consciously and actively teach them what they needed to know.

The difficulty is that when you start actively delving into the realm of teaching life skills to your children there inevitably comes a point where you stand back and cry whoa! There’s simply so much. You’re overwhelmed and could be forgiven for asking yourself what? when? and how the XXXX are we supposed to do all of this?

Be assured, you’re not unique in this.

We found that the first step was to step back. It wasn’t to think about what our kids needed to know, it was to consider what we as adults need to know to function responsibly. How were we developing ourselves personally. When we looked at it this way, we found it broke down into groups:

These groups are fairly intangible but when you delve deeper, they break down into more understandable concepts and activities. We also found that many of the life skills were transferable between groups, particularly the everyday life skills – these skills impact hugely on our performance in each of the other areas.

  • Everyday Life Skills: accountability – taking responsibility, consequences, etc.; self-confidence; keeping motivated; trustworthiness; fairness; listening; doing the right thing; honesty; dealing with disappointment; time management; organisational skills; following instructions; maintaining routines; thinking for ourselves by assimilating information, making assumptions, analysing problems, assessing risk, planning, evaluating safety and making contingencies and coming up with solutions; learning to live and let live and tolerance; communicating effectively, seeing and accepting different viewpoints even it we don’t agree, negotiation, decision-making, using modern day technology effectively; setting goals; exercising self-discipline; using imagination; financial wisdom, saving, spending, planning, etc.; learning from both good and bad experiences and applying the knowledge; accepting the past but living in the present and building towards a future;
  • Healthy Life Skills: how to eat well – balanced diet, basic nutritional knowledge; sleep well; take care of our bodies through physical exercise; develop a healthy self-image, maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle; keeping a positive mental attitude; take care of our spirits and minds.
  • Home Life Skills: housekeeping – bed making, basic cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc.; shopping; managing household money; gardening; general maintenance.
  • Love Love Skills: expressing feelings appropriately; showing respect; tact and diplomacy; resolving conflict; giving and receiving; managing relationships.
  • Working Life Skills: developing a good work-ethic, attention to details, staying power, dependability; organisational skills; good all round reading, writing, arithmetic and speaking skills.

This is an overwhelming list I know but it’s one that we’ll worth being aware of. In every moment or every day of your life, you will be presented with opportunities to teach your children these skills. The trick is to be aware of them and consciously teach where you feel it’s needed.

Bit by bit, you CANDo it and raise CANDo kids which have a fighting chance of growing into responsible, effective adults withe CANDo attitude!

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