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Life skills have recently been lost in exchange for iPads, computers and social media. In a culture that is always on the go and never has enough time, being able to do simple life skills is advantageous. Providing your children with these abilities will allow them the independence of doing things on their own. In addition, they will have skills that over time could save them money by not having to hire out help. Empowering your children with this knowledge creates memories and traditions that has the potential to be passed down through generations. Most importantly, your children will express pride and a sense of accomplishment that they are able to do and create things on their own.
Here are ten life skills that I believe are integral to raising some resiliant children!
Helping out in the kitchen can be modified to get a child of any age involved. This is an amazing opportunity to educate your family on the importance of consuming a healthy diet. Get things started in the grocery store by allowing your kids to choose what fruits, vegetables, or protein source they want for the meal. Having them involved in this step also makes them more likely to actually eat it. Don't worry too much if you have a unique looking fruit in your cart! The internet is a great resource for explaining how to cut pretty much anything.
As they grow, they should learn how to follow a basic recipe. It is quite simple to create your own ingredients list and step-by-step instructions. If you add photos to each of those steps it will make it even easier. Here is an opportunity to learn about following instructions, numbers, fractions, and much more.
Lastly, kitchen safety should also be discussed. Talk about how to safely use kitchen equipment and what you would do if there was a fire.
Just playing in Mother Nature, going barefoot, and breathing in fresh air are habits we ought to start teaching our children. Children spend so much time in doors these days that they are forgetting how to play, discover and deal with being bored. We are surrounded by free, healthy foods in our forests and possibly backyards and yet the art of wildcrafting botanicals has been lost. Why not learn as a family how to take advantage of these wild edibles. Some of the wild foods around Ontario are:
Check out your local library or an online resource to help discover the plants. Involve the entire family in seasonal harvesting for items that can be found in your area. Always be safe rather than sorry and never eat anything you cannot properly identify.
Gardening skills show how caring for something living and watching it grow from seeds can be rewarding. This is an opportunity to provide your family with local and the absolute most fresh food possible. It also exposes your family to important soil microbes that are found locally in your unique environment. Plants that will easily start from seeds indoors include: peas, beans, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots.
As kids grow they can take on more responsibilities such as watering, compost, pulling weeds, raking and using the lawn mower. The more your children grow, the more you can pass along information
Even young kids can help prepare food for storage. Allow children to help wash, cut, and learn about the importance of sterilization techniques in preserving foods. Educate them about the various ways to preserve foods such as drying, canning, and freezing. You can teach them about reducing waste by freezing unconsumed foods before they go bad. Not only does this open the conversation about sustainable living, it also teaches them about being kind to the environment. By preserving foods, you teach your children to rely less on our precious environmental resources. The research supporting the health benefits of consuming fermented foods is growing. Kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, and ginger bugs are all fun home projects that kids can enjoy with the added health benefits. Take a class in your community, research reputable online resources, or ask family and friends to teach you so you can learn these skills if you don't know them already.
Everyone should know the basics of sewing. I cannot believe the number of items that are 50% off just because they are missing a button. All kids should know how to thread a needle, sew on a button, mend a tear and use a sewing machine. Knowing how to shorten clothing items can save time and money. Learning these skills may open a window of opportunity for children who take a special interest in it. Next time you are setting up any type of furniture, get the kids involved. Call the tools by their proper names and model how to use them. Verbally explain what you are doing and why. As they grow, provide them with building materials and tools and give them the task of building something.
In a materialistic, economically unstable world one of the more important life lessons is how to live creatively on less money. There are so many free community activities out there that kids should be encouraged to take advantage of. Model to your children how to value what you have and take care of your items to ensure they last. Focus on purchasing quality over quantity. Purchase used when appropriate, fix things yourself, live within your means, budget and practice sustainable energy and environment conservation (recycle/compost, use a clothes line, carpool or bike on short errands).
Kids need to understand how to clean and care for themselves. Knowing these skills will set them up for success in the future. Children are often capable of more than we give them credit for and should be allowed to learn through their mistakes.
These are skills children can easily learn:
Kids should be equipped with the basic skills of caring for wounds, and treating common ailments with natural remedies. Young kids can learn the important of cleaning a wound and learn the acronym R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compress & elevate). Teach your kids about natural anti-microbals such as garlic, clove, elderberries, and honey. Herbal teas (such as ginger for nausea and chamomile for anxiety) are natural as well as budget friendly.
If you have mastered foraging show your kids how to make a plantain poultice for bug bits and wounds. Other easy at-home first aid includes proper hand washing, hydration and herbal baths (oatmeal for rashes, mustard for colds/flus, lavender to promote rest).
As they grow, empower them to take charge of their health, ask questions about the medical advice they are receiving and request second opinions. They should understand the concept of informed consent and know they are in control of their bodies.
Everyone should learn the basics of how to maintain cars and machines. How to open the hood, check fluid levels, change windshield wipers and tires are all important basic skills. By getting to know machines children are able to discover an understanding of how things work. It is good to know how to troubleshoot and when/ who to call if you need assistance. If this is an area you'd like some brushing up on check out Youtube or WikiHow.com for tutorials.
In a world where “busy-ness” is valued more than presence, children are losing the ability to relax and unplug. Children need to be bored as boredom fosters creativity and complex thought. Children should be encouraged to fantasize, day dream and sit with their thoughts and emotions. I relax with my children because it makes them feel calm and it gives them my undivided attention. In order for children to grow they need input and feedback from their environments. We are doing them a disservice by not allowing them to experience the natural beauty of our world. When children are encouraged to relax in a natural setting they are more aware of their environment.