Hello!

37 Comments

What do we need to teach our children as they grow up?

When my eldest son started school, I was proud of the fact he could write his name as well as do some basic reading and counting.

But on his first day, he had a runny nose, and it was then I realised, I hadn’t prepared him at all for school – who would wipe his nose during the day? I always did it for him.

My son had few life skills, although in my defence he’d been loved to bits during those toddler years, even if life had been a little cruisy for him.

I realised that to start school he needed to be able to wipe his own bottom, open his own lunchbox, keep his gear together and to be able to ask for help if he needed it.

I think he could do about half of these. But by the time my second son started school, he was a pro at all of them.

As parents, our job is to prepare our children for the world that’s at their feet. Not just the basic functions of life, and ‘nose wiping’ fits in here, but rather how to be ready to take on the world without us, even if it is just baby steps when they’re young.

A recent poll and detailed study conducted with UK parents identified the 59 most popular life skills our children should have.

Some of the responses are no brainers – according to 80 per cent of parents surveyed, remembering to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ is the most important life lesson we can teach our children. However some of the skills are questionable – do our children really need to know how to do a cartwheel? Or open a bottle of champagne? (I’m hearing a ‘hell yeah!’ on that one!)

So in no particular order, we’ve put together our own list of “Twenty One Life Skills” we should be teaching our children. We just need to ensure we make the time to do this properly:

1) Good manners. This is a ‘fail’ if good manners aren’t ingrained in our kids from an early age. Being able and willing to use good manners is a basic life skill. ‘Please’, ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me’ – good manners are simply a life imperative.

2) Engage with people. Look people in the eye when talking to them and use their name – I get a little thrill whenever my friend’s children say my name when they greet me and make a mental note that I need to work more on this with mine.

3) Put your devices down when talking to people. Sadly, a sign of the times means we could put together a whole separate list about device etiquette. Sigh.

4) Ask for help if you need it. Interestingly, the 5th highest scoring skill on the UK survey was “Don’t talk to strangers”, but sometimes our kids might need to.

Perhaps a different version of this is needed, because if they need help – emotionally or physically our children should know they can turn to anyone.

5) Cyber safety. Like no other generation yet, our children need to know how to be discerning and aware of the risks and what to watch for in the online world.

6) Be kind to others. The old adage of treating others how you’d like to be treated will always be a powerful reminder of how to live your life.

7) Be positive and happy. Make sure the glass is always half full and not half empty. We should teach our children how to bounce through life rather than trudge.

8) Have loving relationships. By being open and generous with their love, this sets the foundation for positive relationships with friends, families, and one day, their partners and their own children.

9) Be respectful – of elders, of each other, of those in positions of authority and of well, everyone. Respect.

10) Learn to swim. We live on an island surrounded by water. Knowing how to swim and be water confident is a must.



11) Personal safety – being self aware and personally safe. Although life is full of adventures waiting to happen, our children need to make the right decisions about their own personal safety.

12) How to work hard for what they want. Very few people in life get what they want without working for it. Our children need to work for what they want rather than just being given it.

13) How to cook and tidy up after yourself. Being able to look after yourself is an empowering emotion for our kids. As parents we don’t have to do it all and nor should we – we’re helping our kids by asking them to help.

14) Make their own fun and adventures. Often children and adults turn to the default entertainment offered on devices rather than go exploring.

We need to teach our kids to get amongst it and find their own fun, rather than one artificially created for them.

15) Believe in the body beautiful: In their lives, there will be so many showing and telling our children what they should or shouldn’t look life as they grow up. Our job is to teach them that their bodies are beautiful and amazing, and that each body shape, size and height is unique and should be celebrated. Can I have another “hell yeah!

16) Stand up for yourself and speak your mind. It’s so important to be able to stand up for yourself – if someone takes your ball, get it back, if there’s a hair in your soup, complain. Nobody puts baby in a corner (for those old enough to remember Dirty Dancing).

17) Fuel your body. With the increasing rates of obesity in Australia, more than ever, our children need to understand what foods are good for their health and what to avoid or have in moderation.

18) Move your body. Make ‘moving’ a natural part of our children’s day and set an example by doing the same.

19) Know when to say no. By teaching our children that it’s ok to say no, and not to succumb to peer pressure, we’re helping provide a solid platform for when those tough decisions come.

20) To be the best they can be. By teaching our children these life skills, we’re helping them to be the best version of themselves. But it’s up to them, and that’s the learning – everything they do in life will be their responsibility.

21) Change the toilet roll. Just slipping a personal one in here. Dear my family, changing the toilet roll actually requires the used one to be placed in the rubbish bin, not the floor.

What life skills do you think are important to teach your children? What have we missed out?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • I think all of these are important but I want my little one to be kind, good hearted and loving.

    Reply

  • I got a laugh seeing number 21 on the list. Yes, I agree these are all valuable skills. And they are skills that need refreshing when toddlers become children and then teens and then young adults.

    Reply

  • There’s some great things on this list that unfortunately many people don’t think about nowadays.

    Reply

  • Table manners. How to hold a knife and fork and how to eat with your mouth closed.
    Im stunned at the number of adults that will munch away on something and they cant eat with their mouths closed. Its so majorly disgusting to watch and sad that if they dont know the skill then there is very little hope for their kids either.

    Reply

  • I guess we kind of take some of these things for granted and just assume our kids will be able to do them. Definitely a bit to think about.

    Reply

  • Yes all great life skills we need to be teaching our children.

    Reply

  • kids have skills talent

    Reply

  • This is a good list, the only thing I’ll add is to never give up every when thing seem horrible. Something awesome could be on the other side of the bad situation/event. Still working on some of these with my kids.

    Reply

  • my son, is now only learning to love himself after being bullied at school. I like to think it is because I have given him some good tools, but who knows?

    Reply

  • learn how important it is to save money – and buy a house when you are young x

    Reply

  • Be kind and considerate to others, especially those worse off then yourself, you don’t know their story so don’t judge. Remember that what you put out there, what you give, is what you’ll get back. Do good and good things happen etc

    Reply

  • skills children

    Reply

  • they look like thie having fun

    Reply

  • A really god article read! Very interesting!

    Reply

  • Really good list to go by, thanks for sharing.

    Reply

Post a comment
Like Facebook page

LIKE MoM on Facebook

Please enter your comment below
Would you like to include a photo?
No picture uploaded yet.
Please wait to see your image preview here before hitting the submit button.
Your MoM account


Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your comment and join MoM:

You May Like

Loading…

Looks like this may be blocked by you browser or content filtering.

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating
Join