When it comes to learning and teaching children this doesn’t just have to be kept to the confines of the classroom and neither is it just a case of learning your times tables. In fact, so much of a child’s education takes place outside of the classroom. Children have so much to learn. They can learn, absorb and retain information quickly and without even realising it. Here are some of life’s skills that every child will learn throughout their childhood with a little help, life skills that you can help teach them and that does not always come from the classroom.
Riding a bike
Being able to ride a bike is a great skill that can provide children with so many opportunities but also so much fun. Being able to ride a bike can make it quicker and easier for older children to get places but also it allows them to join in with their friends who may be out riding bikes at the local park or skate park. It also presents the opportunity for you all to get out as a family and go on bike rides together. It is never too early to start learning to ride a bike and a great way to begin is to buy your very young children a balance bike. This is a bike without pedals that they can push along the ground with their feet. These bikes teach them the basics of balance and can make moving to a bike without stabilisers much easier and considerably less daunting.
Cooking and following a recipe
Being able to cook is certainly a life skill and starting your children young will pay you and them dividends in the long run. Introducing your children to basic food hygiene and kitchen safety from the start will instil lifelong good practice when it comes to cleanliness and safety in the kitchen. What is more, teaching them to follow a recipe will help model how to follow instructions on a step by step basis and in the right order. Following a recipe can also help teach patience and the importance of finishing one stage before moving on to the next. Not only will this allow them to expand their cooking capabilities as they age but it also helps teach the importance of following instructions. A skill in itself when it comes to assembling flat-pack furniture. Having kitchen savvy children has many benefits, at the very least you may get some delicious baked goods out of it.
While the majority of learning to read and write may be done in a more formal classroom setting many children are able and willing before they set foot in their reception class. While it is not being suggested you have your pre-schooler reading chapter and verse there are a lot of simple games that can be played at home that help promote letter and phonic recognition in advance of formal education commencing. There are some excellent fun and original letter sound correspondence activities you can play with young children. A great example is letter hop whereby you create several letter targets say A D and M for example and you then hold up a letter and say a sound, if the sound matches the sound you are holding up your child takes a hop toward you. As you progress you can graduate from saying sounds to words or holding up multiple letters for them to choose from.
Telling the time
The overwhelming majority of analogue clocks are being replaced with digital clocks and it is leaving many children unconfident in their ability to tell the time on an analogue clock. Being able to read the time in both digital and analogue format is an essential life skill that can and will be used throughout an entire lifetime. A great way to help children understand and become familiar with analogue time is to keep an analogue clock in the house and when the time comes to slowly start introducing them to the concept of time i.e. that there are 24 hours in a day and the purpose behind the big hand and the little hand. Slowly but surely they will start to recognise and understand the logic of the trusty analogue clock.
Teaching children about money is a skill they will need for life. It is not just about teaching them what physical cash means and represents but the importance of spending and saving. Teaching children about money is also about teaching them to take some responsibility for their own money and how and why they should save it.
It is a good idea to teach children about physical money first, so they can know and understand the purpose of coins and notes and the value they hold. This should always be the starting point and the foundation for learning the value of money. That said the world is quickly becoming a cashless system and adults are paying for items using their phones and watches all of the time. It stands to reason that children of today will grow up in an ever-increasing cashless society and will rarely handle cash as they age. As such teaching kids the importance of money sitting on a bank card or via Apple Pay is just as important. They still need to understand the ramifications of tapping their card 10 times a day. There are great apps and child bank cards available for young children, such as Go Henri which help to educate children on the value of money and spending. It has built-in parental controls and both children and adults can monitor their spending via an app. Learning these valuable skills at a young age will help children become financially savvy earlier.
What to do in an emergency
If there is an emergency in your family home that needs emergency response do your children know what to do? Are they able to dial 999 and ask for help? It might seem extreme but knowing what to do in an emergency could save a life, it will also help to keep your children calm and avoid panicking in a potentially frightening situation.
Tying a shoelace
All hail velcro. While parents and children across the country invest in velcro shoes in the early years children will still need to learn to tie a shoelace. If you are not confident in your ability to teach your child how to lace up their shoes then search YouTube where you will find some great child-friendly tutorials to do the tricky explaining for you.
Tidying up after themselves
Teaching children some basics when it comes to cleaning and tidying will get them and you a long way. There will come a point where every child becomes responsible for their cleanliness and tidiness and encouraging those behaviours from a young age will help instil them for when they are older. Start by introducing simple daily tasks that don’t ask a lot from a child, such as clearing their plate after dinner or ensuring their shoes are put away and not just left on the floor where they take them off. As they get older you can ask slightly more of them, such as making a bed in the morning or helping to unload a dishwasher. It doesn’t always have to be onerous but giving simple chores can help create responsibility and the understanding that these things need to be done.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.