As parents, we want our children to be prepared for life on their own. After all, one day, they will be out in the real world. And, as much as we’d like to feel needed by our children forever, in reality, they NEED to be able to function on their own. If they get to be adults and are still depending on us for everything – big and little – we’ve actually done them a major disservice.
But, at the same time, we want them to be able to enjoy being kids. We don’t want their entire childhood to feel like it’s just practice for the adult years.
So, how do we strike that balance?
How do you teach your child life skills and still let them be kids?
Although I firmly believe that each child is different (so you can’t expect them all to learn or react the same), I do think there are a few general guidelines:
Make it Natural
Rather than making life skills training into something formal or separate, try just integrating it into their daily life. You don’t have to make a big fuss about life skils training in order to get it done. For example, if one of the life skills you want to actively focus on is cooking, just invite them to help you out in the kitchen. You don’t have to make a big deal about the fact that they are about to learn to cook. Just jump in and do it!
Make it Fun
Just as learning a new skill doesn’t have to be surrounded by a lot of pomp and circumstance, it also doesn’t need to feel like school. It can be (and often should be) fun! Take cooking, for example. Getting in the kitchen to experiment with ingredients or to whip up a favorite meal should be something fun – not stressful.
Switch it Up
Don’t treat learning a life skill as though you have to master one fully before introducing another. Switch things up and try out new skills so that it doesn’t become boring or feel like a chore.
Give Them Plenty of Grace
When kids are learning a new skill, it can be a bit frustrating for everyone involved. They may feel as though they are not getting it quickly enough and you may feel frustrated that it is taking longer than you think it should. However, keep two things in mind:
- Everyone learns at a different pace. This goes for EVERY skill and EVERY person at EVERY age. There are things one person can pick up quickly at 10 years old even though there are 20-year-olds might still struggle with. Give them a chance to learn at their own speed and give them plenty of encouragement as they go along (that’s why we love our Skill Trek Hall of Fame 🙂 )
- What is easy for you wasn’t always easy for you. Remember that there was a time in your life when you had NO CLUE how to do that thing that your child is struggling with. You might even be able to remember that time. Think about how you would have felt at that time and be the type of support that you would have wanted then.
I hope that these tips will serve you and your family well as you work on various life skills. Do you have a tip that has worked well for you? I’d love to hear about it! Just hit reply and let me know.
P.S. Looking for help with making learning life skills fun and natural part of your family’s life? Sign up for Skill Trekk. We have lessons on over 500 different life skills so that you can customize the experience for your family. Head over to our sales page for more info on how to join thousands of other families as we teach our kids the life skills for them to love and live life to the fullest!