5 Things Kids Should Learn From an Early Age
Blessed with a cocktail of curiosity and rapid growth, your children’s brains are like sponges when they’re just a wee bit young – and boy do they learn things very quickly. During this period, a lot of the essential and core life skills start to develop – though they don’t become fully adept at handling most complex real-life situations until they’re well in their teenage years.
Therefore, parents and guardians must supervise, facilitate, and structure their kids’ learning journey to cultivate the foundation of their life skills development.
But what are the skills that parents need to pay attention to when they’re trying to raise their children?
Let’s get into it!
Do you want your kids to get along with others? Cultivate their social skills!
Children with good social skills work well with their peers and are polite to their members of the community. They also tend to be good problem solvers who are also adept at conflict resolution.
Social skills can be incorporated during playtime, school hours, or at home!
Sharing is Caring
Your kids copy off whatever it is the humans around them are doing. When your children are surrounded by people who demonstrate sharing and caring, they will have good role models to emulate.
The children will also need to frequently be in situations that allow them to learn about sharing through real-life practical experience. Ways to facilitate that may include:
Children learn a lot from just watching what their parents do. When you exemplify a willingness to share in your family, it gives your children a great example to follow.
Here are a few examples of how to get your children to be comfortable with sharing in the everyday situations:
– Get your children to understand why sharing is caring. Provide examples through your own actions e.g. sharing your meals with other members of the family, watching shows on a mobile gadget together – all in the spirit of making the experience “fun” for everybody. You could also verbally advise your children to share their toys with the other kids.
– Praise and affirm positive sharing behavior. This makes your kids feel validated and reinforces them to repeat the act in the future. Also, just like getting your kids to understand why sharing is caring, praise and affirmation can be done not just whenever they themselves performed acts of sharing, but when other people do so as well. E.g. when their cousins share their toys with your kids, validate the act by praising the good deed. Let your children see it and hope they will want to emulate the good act.
– Prepare your children before they socialize – whether it’s before school, during playground sessions, or during playdates. This preparation will help them to be mentally equipped when the situation calls for them to share, and all the practices that they’ve had at home will kick in.
All good parents want their children to grow up healthy and happy!
While a healthy kid is always happy, a happy kid isn’t always clean. That’s okay though. There are things parents and guardians can do to ensure that they are equipped with the skills that would keep them healthy and happy for a lifetime.
A healthy diet is the foundation of healthy living, but how do we inculcate the interest and habit of healthy nutrient intake in children?
Hiding vegetables in fried food does not cut it – who are we fooling here? Deep-fried food isn’t the best for health thus we’re still feeding them unhealthy morsels.
Kids become more willing and adventurous in their dietary choices when they are a part of the food-making in the kitchen. Yes. Your children will probably start eating their veggies if they see how the dish is prepared. It gives them a sense of belonging and investment.
So, whenever it’s possible, involve your children in meal preps. Get them to whisk, help marinade proteins, tear vegetables, or knead doughs – anything that would get their hands to feel the food that they’re about to eat. Remember to keep the atmosphere happy. Happy kids absorb knowledge very quickly!
The best way to avoid diseases is to prevent them, and exercise is one of the best ways to do so.
Kids who are accustomed to physical activities have stronger cardiac health, sleep better, are more energetic, and are able to focus better when they’re learning.
Exercise also has a lot of psychological benefits for children. Fit kids grow up to be more confident, more assured in themselves, and more mentally resilient.
Now, how do we develop an interest in exercise in your children?
Start by making the physical sessions as fun as possible, and that does not include forcing them to do them. Use different terms for exercise so that they associate the activity with positive and fun ones. Try “play” or “game” instead of exercise when prompting your kids into exercise.
There’s no age that’s too young to start developing good habits for hygiene.
Most parents keep their kids on schedule for bath, hand washing, clothes changing, and teeth brushing without telling them explicitly the reason behind them.
Being honest with your kids is probably the best way of getting them to understand why they do what they do. Communicate the reason behind each hygiene-maintaining action effectively and supervise them when they’re doing the acts.
How heavy a supervision you impose on your children can vary depending on how old your kids are, but the end goal is to get them doing it even when you’re not compelling them to.
Just like exercising, hygiene maintenance should always be fun for kids. Whenever possible, don’t raise your voice or do anything that would have your children assign traumas to the actions that they’re about to take. Be patient. They’re kids after all!
Your children’s feelings matter.
Their ability to understand their feelings and the feelings of the humans around them are contingent on their emotional health.
Nobody just pops out of the womb being emotionally stable. Nobody.
Kids, especially younger ones can have mood swings that are very difficult to anticipate. Figuring out the triggers can also often prove to be difficult. Therefore, helping them to regulate their emotional state is one of your core duties as parents.
There are, though, some kids who are born with the natural propensity to understand how to regulate their emotions (those children will still have unreasonable tantrums though) but be discouraged not if your little ones don’t seem to be as adept as the neighbor’s children. When it comes to nature vs nurture, nurture almost always reigns supreme.
Providing your kids with a stable, loving, and fun environment to grow up in is very important. When given a conducive environment, children’s journey in learning emotional regulation will be much easier.
A Romanian orphanage was the subject of a study on the paramountcy of nurture when it comes to children’s emotional regulation. During the research, children who were randomly assigned to loving and caring foster families exhibited better emotional regulation compared to the ones who stayed in the orphanage.
This is a core skill that is seriously lacking in a lot of adults nowadays, it seems.
Empathy is the ability to feel how another human is feeling given a scenario and then positively respond with affection. This skill requires time and consistency to develop.
How do we facilitate our children’s empathy development?
Start by showing empathy with your own:
– Ask them questions that validate their feelings – for example, “Do you feel scared when I turn off the light before you sleep? It’s okay. I know it can be scary to not be able to see anything, so I will stay with you until you fall asleep!”
– Discuss with your kids the feelings of others – for example, “You know, Loni feels sad whenever you pull her hair in the playground. Hair pulling hurts Loni. It wouldn’t feel good to you if someone pulled your hair, right? So, please don’t do that when you’re playing with Loni.”
– Teach them to perform acts of empathy – for example, “Let’s buy some Christmas gifts for the kids at the orphanage! Then we get to be happy together with them, and they’ll have something nice to get through Christmas!”
Life would be easier for your children if they are able to understand and communicate effectively with other people. Great linguistic skills can also broaden their horizons, which is important in an increasingly global society.
This is another core life skill that must be developed since your kids are very young.
Children who are able to convey their feelings and thoughts in society tend to do better in school and are well-liked by people. They also are more likely to establish good and healthy relationships with their peers because they are able to communicate effectively so that the others could understand their intention without misconstruing.
An effective communicator is someone who listens well.
Just like all of the other skills we have mentioned before, inculcating this skill starts with the parents and guardians modeling this action in front of their children. Again, examples are the best teachers.
Whenever your kids are saying something to you, try repeating back whatever they’re saying to them to show that you comprehended whatever it was they were saying. Follow up with an open-ended question – e.g. “Did you say you had a lot of fun at James’ playdate? How fun was it?”
The listening skill also teaches your kids about turn-taking during a conversation. A technique that is commonly used in therapy is to get a cushion or a plushie and have the person who has the object speak while the others listen. Then your kid needs to pass the object to another person when they’re done speaking.
Be a Great Conversationalist
A great conversationalist can always get along with people that come from various backgrounds. This is an important skill when your kids grow up and are ready to network.
Instil the passion for reading and effective research to broaden your children’s knowledge, so that they’re able to relate and resonate whenever they’re involved in varying topics of conversation. Encourage them to find the humor in things, whenever appropriate. Funny people always get friends everywhere.
In an increasingly global society, it is no longer an option for people to at least be bilingual – it’s a necessity.
Research encourages second language acquisition quite early in a child’s life – because it’s easier for them when their brains are still at the golden period of rapid growth. They can definitely acquire it later in life, but it’ll be much harder for them.
Now, how do we get our children to start learning a second language early in life?
One way is by assigning an adult companion to speak one language, and another adult speaking another. Your kids will associate which adult speaks which language, and they tend to be able to switch to another more seamlessly.
Also, don’t forget to make the learning experience fun! Remember, they’re kids.
Involve songs or graphic books that come in a language that they’re trying to learn, and be consistent. Don’t forget to take breaks though, because although the experience can be fun, learning is also exhausting. You don’t want your kids to burn out and associate language learning with an unsavory experience.
The world operates on complex ideas, and your kids make up the generation that will inherit the earth and its advancement.
Developing their cognitive ability allow them to process complex ideas, be assertive, and solve problems. Never discourage your children when they’re exploring, being creative, or asking questions – all of those are crucial in developing effective thinking skills.
Many grown-ups still struggle with problem-solving skills. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t encouraged in their generation to think critically and were forced to conform instead. Don’t do that to your kids!
Now, getting your children to develop the ability to think critically can be a challenge as it requires some form of emotional management, resilience, and a conducive situation to take on the learning process – basically, all of the 4 above mentioned factors (physical well-being, effective communication, good health and well-rested, and a good social environment) to be optimum for the journey to be pleasant.
As parents, it is imperative to exercise patience when guiding and facilitating critical-thinking learning, do a lot of research, and answer your children’s questions well no matter how silly you may think they are!
We can’t have advancement if we’re not well-versed in STEM!
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is a branch of discipline your kids definitely don’t want to miss out on. As the world constantly evolves and gets more complex, those who are left behind are those who are clueless about how technology works.
STEM education combines the four disciplines harmoniously in a learning session – and it’s found to be more effective than segregating them in separate sessions.
Children who are educated in STEM early on are found to be better at critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, collaboration, and effective communication.
It also doesn’t hurt that STEM-related jobs are in demand and will still be in demand in the future, so prepare your kids for a good career prospect by educating them early!
While many schools nowadays have incorporated STEM-style classroom sessions, more often than not, these schools are private and expensive.
Worry not though – we at Timedoor can serve your kids’ STEM needs through our coding classes that are suitable for ages 8 and above. Our classes are small in size, so each child will receive optimum attention from our instructors.
Coding is the gateway for further STEM pursuits, so it truly will serve your children well to get them started in coding.
For more information about Timedoor Coding Academy, please visit this link.