At one point or another, so many adults these days find themselves thinking “I wish my parents had taught me that when I was younger.” The world is changing quickly everyday and we sometimes find ourselves outpaced by people who were taught certain essential skills - things like how to do your taxes properly, how to buy homes, how to learn properly, how to stop and take a moment for yourself, how to stay healthy, active and mindful - the list goes on. That’s why parents raising young children these days can look to some of those skills they’d wish they’d learned earlier and in turn teach it to their own kids. Teaching kids certain important life skills can really set them up for success later on in life. It may be hard to get them onboard at first, but trust that when they get older, they’ll be so grateful you did! Some of these seem simple, but they can really make a difference in a person’s success and happiness in life if they get a hang of them early on.
This one is so simple. Reading is a basic skill that we often take for granted. The school system typically starts kids off teaching them how to read, but if that’s the only place they are asked to do so, chances are kids won’t necessarily gravitate towards it on their own. Be sure to encourage reading, even at home. Beyond just teaching your kids HOW to read, it’s important they understand WHY they should read. Make it fun. Instill bedtime stories and reading time. Consider reading a book with your child so the two of you can actually have your own at-home book club where you discuss what you read. This will give them important literary skills of how to dissect and interpret prose. Reading books can give kids a wonderful escape to amazing new worlds. Keep pushing them to read as much as you can so that they carry this on later in life!
This one is so important, maybe these days more than ever because of phones, computers and TV’s. Kids today get a ton of screentime and it can be challenging to get them to go outside and get moving. Those kids can easily grow up to be adults who don’t move or exercise enough. Encouraging them to unplug and be active can be a challenge but if you make it part of your home culture, it will be a skill that will keep them happy and healthy throughout their life. Consider weekly or even daily (if possible) outdoor outings. Riding bikes, going to the park, skating, climbing trees, playing on the jungle gym, playing tag and other fun games with friends - these are all amazing ways your child can get some exercise and sunlight.
Nature and the great outdoors is amazing for children’s learning and development. We all share this earth and no matter what age you are, we are part of this great ecosystem and have a responsibility to coexist and take care of it. When kids learn about and spend time in nature, they learn to stay grateful and appreciative of a world that supports our way of life. They learn empathy and to be conscious of other living things. Encourage your kids to do things like spend time in parks, go camping with them, consider enrolling them in things like boy or girl scouts, or look up local programs that national parks or zoos offer, or volunteer to plant some trees. There are many programs that teach kids about nature like marine biology camps, zoo camps or zoo sleepovers, summer camps, survival programs and more. Not all adults have a real interest or appreciation for nature. It’s important to instill a connection to the living world around us so we can work to create a society that coexists better.
Children often start out life being naturally creative, but as we grow older and juggle things like responsibilities, calculating risks, learning new concepts and practicing sticking to rules can start to fade out that natural creativity over time. That’s why so many adults today feel that creativity is a skill they just don’t have. It starts to become hard for them to imagine things outside of the box. Getting back to being creative is harder than if you just always had the skill and nurtured and grew your ability to create. Encourage your kids to take up hobbies that allow them to express themselves. Things like illustrating, sculpting, dancing, acting, writing music or other artistic endeavors have amazing impacts on kids’ development. It helps them learn better, allows them to develop new skills, gives them a sense of confidence and fulfillment, allows them to stay connected with themselves in a deeper way and also helps them connect with others around them in more meaningful ways. Keeping them creative will keep their unique perspectives and their inner voices strong through all the noise and overstimulation of today’s digital and globalized world.
Learning About Finances
Finance skills are basic and essential but somehow, many of today’s adults still struggle with these! Principles of saving, investing, taking calculated risks are extremely important as you set your kids up for success in life. Make sure you are not only teaching them about finance through words but also set an example through your actions. You can begin teaching them at ages much younger than you might think! Talking finance to a toddler may seem daunting, but studies have shown that 3-year-olds can understand money concepts, and that the financial lessons they've learned by age 7 carry over into the rest of their lives. Budgeting, having healthy spending habits, the value of a dollar, principles of earning, debt and credit, and managing checking and savings accounts are things you can start with your kids as early as you like and build on their foundations throughout their lives.
This one is pretty simple but very important. Don’t underestimate the power of teaching your kids about kindness and empathy. As much as today’s adults may have been taught or lectured about this when they were younger, the demands of adulthood and this fast-paced world can easily make us forget how important it is to be kind. Instill this in your children so they can be conscious of others. Teaching tolerance and empathy is severely undervalued but very much needed.