The Importance of Teaching Life Skills at a Young Age
Sep 22, 2023
When raising a child, planning for their future and raising them to be successful individuals is a large part of the parenting role. Parents or guardians provide youth with a safe and stable home, education, and social environment. They also teach money management, proper communication, and basic responsibility. These, along with other practices, are known as life skills or soft skills in a professional setting.
By teaching your child practical life skills, you are setting them up for a self-sufficient and independent future. 1“In addition to promoting self-sufficiency, practical life skills can also give individuals an advantage in handling practical tasks and challenges. For example, cooking a healthy meal can save time and money, while adequately caring for clothing can extend the life of those garments.” Practical life skills can also positively impact mental health and well-being. By providing children with knowledge, they feel more competent in their daily tasks and are more likely to have higher self-esteem and feel more in control of their lives. This sense of control can lead to increased feelings of happiness and contentment.
FamilyMeans Youth Development Manager, Jaime Staska, has provided some in-depth examples of how you can prioritize life skill teaching with your child(ren):
Time management is an uphill battle in the age of screens everywhere, but can still be difficult even without “time suckers” like tablets, computers, and phones. While not all screen time is bad, it can be taking away from more important things in life such as spending time with family and friends, working on school-work, and getting adequate sleep. Having a course of action for managing your time can be helpful. This can look like shutting off screens an hour before bed, planning a family reading hour, scheduling time for exercise, prioritizing family dinner, and more. Overall, prioritizing your most important needs of the day (family time, nutrition, exercise, work/school, etc) and then sprinkling in the less important needs of the day (video games, social media scrolling, etc.) can help to make sure that we get all of what we need plus some of what we want.
Many youth have difficulty understanding how money works, and it’s only gotten more complex over time. My daughter is 10 years old, and when she wants something, she likes to point out that it only costs a fraction of my paycheck. I have to explain how much of my paycheck goes to pay for things like food, gas, bills, and other “extras” that we take for granted (like our monthly Spotify Premium subscription that provides us with endless tunes during carpool.) When we take the time to add up and reflect on what we spend our money on, it can help us to feel gratitude for the perks in our life. The more you take the time to teach your child about money, the more prepared they will be.
FamilyMeans Youth Development supports the advancement of life skills with local youth through hands-on experiences, education opportunities, post-secondary preparation, and more. We serve youth ages 5-18 in the city of Landfall and community of Cimarron, Lake Elmo.
Want to help the advancement of life skills with local youth? Apply to become a Youth Development Volunteer! Share your time and talent to help build bright futures. Visit https://www.familymeans.org/youth-programs/ to learn more and apply.
1“The Importance of Learning Practical Life Skills at a Young Age.” Advancing The Seed, Inc., www.advancetheseed.org/blog/the-importance-of-learning-practical-life-skills-at-a-young-age.