10 Skills your child needs to learn

hmmm... i read this and wondering how many skills that my kids have nowadays? and how am i going to improve their skills???


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10 Skills your child needs to learn

School children learning breathing techniques during a swimming lesson.

TEENS & TWEENS
By CHARIS PATRICK

Being 10 years old is a big thing. It is often described as a rite of passage from early childhood to the tween years. Amidst the huge focus on academic achievements, there’s a different set of skills you may want to equip your kids with before he or she turns 10. These skills may be simple but necessary:

1) Packing bags
Before your child enters primary school, he should already know how to pack his schoolbag and not rely on you to do it for him. Help him by buy a bag with compartments to organise items. For a start, it is good to have a packing list or a timetable for your child to refer to. Teach him to plan ahead and pack heavy items such as textbooks first, to avoid crushing smaller items in the bag.

2) Tying shoelaces
Many parents buy shoelace-free school shoes for their children. This is fine if time is a concern but training your child to tie laces has its benefits. It enhances his motor skills and trains him to be patient and disciplined. Engage your child’s interest by telling a story on tying shoelaces. You can check out some videos on YouTube for more ideas.

3) Riding a bicycle
Once children learn to ride a bike, they never forget it. One of the first things a child should learn is how to balance on a two-wheeler. Search for an appropriate place to conduct the training – it should be free of traffic and have wide, flat ground. It is also an excellent parent-child bonding opportunity.

4) Typing
Today’s media take up such a substantial part of our children’s lives. Not only should we pay attention to what they’re doing online, we should teach them healthy habits, including proper keyboarding. Believe me, it’s way harder to teach a child to break bad keyboarding habits later on, which is why teaching your kids to type is more important than you think. In today’s digital world, the new alphabet song should go something like this: A S D F G H J K L.

5) Swimming
The most important part of learning to swim is to ensure water safety. While knowing how to swim does not guarantee against drowning, it makes such mishaps less likely to happen. Knowing that your children can swim will make you feel better when they are in a pool. But, this does not mean you should ever leave them unattended while they are in a swimming pool. Learning to swim helps them build confidence, develop discipline and, best of all, get a good workout.

6) Household chores
Assign age-appropriate tasks. Right from when they are toddlers, we teach them to keep their toys; when they grow up, they will learn to clear up after themselves. Slowly expand their responsibilities as they grow older, such as washing their own school shoes. Make household chores fun by creating a game that offers your kids options with different reward levels. High Score House (highscorehouse.com) is an example of such a game. Reward your children with treats or cheery stickers for their effort, and when they have done well.

7) Managing money
When your child is in early primary, he may only know how to manage daily expenses. When he gets older, you may want to start him on weekly allowances to teach him to manage and track his expenses. Help him set saving goals on a large and colourful calendar, and reward him when he reaches those goals. Being money-savvy teaches your child responsibility and self-discipline. Put a fun spin on financial planning with virtual bank application. Check out Bankaroo (bankaroo.com).

8) Planning schedules
Create a fun project with your kid by making a planner out of an unused exercise book. Make it a point to sit down with your child on Sunday to reflect on the past week, and plan for the upcoming one.

9) Politely saying no
Try roleplaying different situations with your child. Pretend to be a bully at school or someone urging him to steal money from a classmate. Show him how to be assertive and decline to participate. However, make sure to clarify with your child that you are merely pretending to be a bad influence, and not advocating such behaviours.

10) Cooking meals
Equipping your child with basic skills in the kitchen ensures that he will have more options beyond instant noodles apart from teaching him to be self-reliant. Starting with egg dishes is fun and easy. You can have them in a variety of ways: Hard-boiled, half-boiled, scrambled, sunny side up, omelette, etc. They are nutritious and yummy. When the kids are ready, proceed to one-dish meals like fried rice, sandwiches and noodle soup.

As our progeny transit to the double digit in age, the above life skills will stand them in good stead as they launch into the next chapter of their lives. Treasure the years with your teens and unders. Their first 10 years will be over before we know it.

Charis Patrick is a trainer and family life educator who is married with four children. Email her at star2@thestar.com.my.

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