It’s not the kids who score the highest on exams that necessarily succeed in life. Instead, it’s the kids who are adaptable and who’ve learned good life skills that thrive. This isn’t in any way to say that school education isn’t important, it definitely is. But contrary to popular opinion in Sri Lanka, academic education alone will not take your child far in life; they need life skills too!
7 Essential Life-Skills for Kids
Focus & Self Control – Schedules, habits and routines all create a sense of security for kids and help them focus and be disciplined. This skill is critical for planning and goal setting.
Perspective Taking – Being able to see things as other people might is a powerful skill; essential for leadership and success generally.
Communication – In addition to verbal or written communication, awareness of social cues and other non-spoken communications can give your kid an edge.
Making Connections – Learning to see connections and patterns between unrelated things is what drives innovation.
Critical Thinking – Analyzing and processing information is essential today; especially with all the fake news and misinformation out there.
Taking on Challenges – Being able to deal with the unexpected will help develop resilience; a key skill for success. Don’t be over protective.
Self-Directed, Engaged Learning – A child that loves to learn becomes and adult that’s never bored. Limit TV time, encourage reading, play and open-ended exploration.
Major Activities that Build these Life Skills + What You Can Do At Home
Team Sports – Can help build resilience, focus and self-control. Team sports also expose kids to many different individuals helping them with perspective taking, communication, leadership, challenges and critical thinking. A team sport can also inspire passion in kids encouraging them to learn more.
Theatre & Performance Art – Just like team sports, performance art helps with all the important life skills, especially perspective taking and communication.
Social Clubs & Activities – Interact clubs, Rotaract clubs and other social clubs and activities can help kids learn many life skills through exposure and challenges they would not otherwise encounter.
Strategy & Other Games – Games like chess, scrabble and others can greatly help kids with critical thinking, making connections and self-directed, engaged learning.
Planting Seeds or Looking after a Pet – Teaches responsibility and how to take care of things.
Writing a Letter – Develops communication skills and the ability to organize thoughts.
Learning about Saving Money – You can get your kids to do certain tasks in return for a small payment which they can then put into savings to buy something they want at a later date; teaching the life lesson of delayed gratification.
Cleaning & Laundry – Teaches kids that things don’t just happen. A good life is one that is worked for.
Simple Cooking – Cooking is a skill that can help kids to be independent in their later years.
Comparison Shopping – Comparison shopping is comparing the price of a single item or group of items at more than one retailer or source. Doing this with kids helps them think critically, learn the value of money, delayed gratification and to not be impulsive. This is a great tool to help develop major life skills as it is an activity where a lot of thinking and reflecting need to be done.
Encouraging kids to learn life skills at a young age will help them grow into well-rounded adults who are responsible, productive and independent.