Social Skills Activities Children Need to Practise
Is the current schooling system preparing children for tomorrow’s world?
The world of yesterday is rapidly becoming irrelevant. Back in the 80’s, I was educated in a schooling system that believed in and prepared you for a world that was expected to remain essentially the same, barring a few minor changes in hairstyles. We were taught and trained for jobs that were in demand at the time not what would be in demand in the 2000’s.
Well off course no one could really predict what the future would be like, and we had no idea of what the world had in store for us.
And we still don’t. We never do. We have never been good at predicting the future, and so raising and educating our kids as if we have any idea what the future will hold is not the wisest course of action.
How then to prepare our kids for an unpredictable world with so many unknowns? By teaching them to adapt, to deal with change, to be prepared for anything by not preparing them for anything specific.
Let’s look at a good set of social skills activities children should be taught at home, that will best prepare them for any world of the future
We want our kids to be able to learn on their own. To teach themselves anything. Then we don’t need to teach them everything — whatever they need to learn in the future, they can do on their own. The most important trait you need to teach yourself anything is learning to ask questions. Kids are naturally curious, and we simply need to encourage it. When you and your child encounter something new, ask questions, and explore the possible answers with your child. When he does ask questions, reward the child, and don’t discourage his curious disposition.
If a child can solve problems she can do any job. Starting a new job might be intimidating to any of us, but it’s just another problem to be solved. A new skill, a new environment, new demands they’re all simply problems to be solved. Teach your child to solve problems by yourself demonstrating simple problem solving, then allowing her to do some very easy ones on her own. Don’t immediately solve all your child’s problems, allow her time to ponder and try various possible solutions, and reward such efforts. Eventually, your child will develop confidence in her problem-solving abilities, and then there is nothing she can’t do.
As an entrepreneur, I know that owning and operating a business involves tackling various projects. To achieve my goals, I need to plan and execute many projects, some small and some big. Work on projects with your child, letting him see how it’s done by working with you, then letting him do more and more by himself. As he gains confidence, let him tackle more on his own. Soon, his learning will just be a series of projects that he’s excited about.
We need goals and discipline to achieve success. However, what drives me most is passion. When something excites me that it keeps me up at night, I will inevitably dive into it fully committed, and most times I’ll complete the project and enjoy doing it. Help your kid find things she’s passionate about, it’s okay if she tries out a few things first, finding ones that excite her the most, helping her really enjoy them. Don’t discourage any interest.
Learn From Your Mistakes and be Independent
Kids should be taught to increasingly become independent. Gradually, of course. Slowly encourage them to do things on their own. Teach them how to do it, show them how you do it, help them do it, and gradually help them less. Let them make their own mistakes. Give them confidence in themselves by letting them have a bunch of successes and letting them solve their failures. Once they learn to be independent, they learn that they don’t need a teacher, a parent, or a boss to tell them what to do. They can figure out the direction they need to take on their own.
Making good decisions is a life skill every child should begin learning at a young age. Begin with basic decisions like strawberry ice cream versus chocolate ice cream, the red shirt or the blue one, playing with cars or trucks.
Lead them through the many steps of decision-making. Help them weigh their options, evaluate the pros and cons of that decision, and then let them make the final decision to see how things play out.
Even the youngest children can learn how to prepare a meal in the kitchen. We’re not talking about Sunday lamb roast, of course, but you can teach preschoolers how to fix a simple sandwich and elementary school kids can be taught how to use the microwave. Your kids can assist you in the kitchen at any age.
As your children become more confident in the kitchen, they can add on other meal prep life skills like learning how to bag their own lunch, make healthy food choices, cook a simple meal on the stove with adult supervision and plan their own meals.
Health and Hygiene
Your kids are never too young to begin learning about health and hygiene. In our hectic day-to-day bustle, we’re always telling our kids to take a bath, brush their teeth, wash their hands, and change their underwear. We never tell them why, though.
Explain why health and hygiene are always going to be crucial parts of their days. The Covid-19 pandemic is a good example of the importance of health and hygiene. That is just one reason to maintain good health and hygiene habits. As your children begin learning about this life skill, set up a chart that allows them to check off each task as they complete it. When these healthy habits are established over time, take away the chart and your kids will mentally go through the checklist throughout the day without you having to continually remind them.
Good Time Management
As a parent you will know how important time management is to keep your family on track. But it’s also important for kids to learn time management lessons now.
Not only does teaching younger children how to measure time, stay on task and keep to a schedule help make your days easier, learning this life skill also helps them become masters of time so they can do everything that needs to be done.
We need this to work well with others, to care for people other than ourselves, to be happy by making others happy. Teach by example. Be always compassionate to your child, and to others. Show them empathy by asking how they think others might feel and thinking aloud about how you think others might feel. Demonstrate at every opportunity how to ease the suffering of others when you’re able, how to make others happier with small kindnesses, how that can make you happier in return.
This will be one of the most essential skills as our kids grow up, as the world is always changing and being able to accept the change and evolve and to deal with the change will be a competitive advantage. People sometime fear change and set goals and plans and try to rigidly adhere to them even though the landscape has changed. Model this skill for your child at every opportunity and show them that change is okay, that you can adapt, that you can embrace new opportunities that weren’t there before. Life is an adventure, and things will go wrong, turn out differently than you expected, but that’s okay. It’s part of the excitement of it all.
We can’t give our children all the knowledge or data they may need in the future. We don’t know what the future will bring. But we can prepare them to learn anything, to solve anything, to adapt to anything and hopefully a future filled with everything they desire.