Imagine yourself stranded on an island with no escape in sight, with limited food and drinking water, just you and those survival skills you learnt back in Girl Scouts. Well, imagine something straight out of “Cast Away”, only you’re not the FedEx superhero trying to get back to your fiancée. While this is not the exact situation we had in mind while writing this, life skill activities remain just as important in your day to day life. Usually, you learn them better in your childhood itself, but it’s really never too late to learn these essential life skills that you most definitely need to use while facing obstacles that even our mundane life throws at us.
What are Basic Life Skills, and why Teach Them to Your Kids?
Okay, let’s quickly face the facts as they are: Life isn’t easy. In fact, it’s downright annoying, sometimes way too tedious than it should be and only gets worse as you grow older. That is, if you lack those essential life skills that make life so much more bearable. Usually, it’s much easier to adapt to these skills early in your childhood.
Let’s be honest, you probably don’t need to know a dozen different sailor knots, but you need diplomacy, confidence and rationality almost on a daily basis. This is why teaching your kids essential life skills becomes increasingly important. One way to approach this is by enrolling your child in life skill activities like a team sport, public speaking, community service or hobby classes early in their childhood.
1. Team Sports
Other than the obvious physical advantages that a sport can give a growing child, team sports specifically are great as life skill activities. Not only do they train a child’s body to work under pressure and competition, but they also help the child develop leadership qualities, a sense of belonging, skills to function well around people and the importance of community and teamwork. These are all essential life skills that definitely help the child become a well-adjusted individual in their personal as well as professional spheres of life. However, not every child may be inclined towards sports, but fear not, for there are many more life skill activities that you can opt for instead, being a family you are the one who knows the best.
2. Public Speaking
Most individuals break a sweat at the mere thought of talking to more than five people at once, much less climbing onto a stage and shouting out their ideas among thousands of people. Nevertheless, public speaking skills like debate, elocution or MUNs become extremely important for future success. Life skill activities that promote public speaking are daunting to say the least, but the truth is, they only seem so initially. Just like everything else, perfecting the art of public speaking takes practice. Lucky for us, there are several different life skill activities to choose from that give you the same result, more or less. Some of these include debate societies, theatre, elocution competitions or poetry recitals and even Model United Nations. Activities like these are significant in promoting various life skills such as cooperation, self-confidence, trusting the process, working as a team, diplomacy, creativity and a general degree of concern about the world.
Also Read: Ensure your child must have assertive communication with people around him while growing up.
One of the other important life skill activities is developing a hobby early into your childhood. It is necessary to encourage your child to explore different hobbies and then stick to the one they seem to enjoy the most. Help them develop these hobbies and encourage them to take them to the next level, and one can do it in various ways. For example, if your child has a knack for words, encourage them to start a blog online and put out their thoughts into the world. Or, if your child loves to sing or play an instrument, a YouTube channel can be a great outlet. The internet has made it easy for people to access content, and therefore, it has also become just as easy to create that content. When a child pursues a hobby, they develop passion, vision and a drive that pushes them to do their best. These are all essential life skills for kids.
What Essential Life skills Can I teach My Child?
Life skills aren’t something you can force upon a child. Usually, life skills are a product of life itself. This means life skills are built, rather than imparted. They need to be learnt slowly and imbibed truly to do any good to the child. However, some essential life skills that one must help their children learn are as follows:
- Compassion and empathy
- Self-confidence and self-worth
- Good communication skills
- Depth of perception
- Emotional stability
- Leadership qualities
- Ability to work under pressure
- Healthy competition
- Sense of belonging and responsibility towards their community
- Creative thinking
- Critical analysis
- Concern about the world
- Self-directed learning
What are Life skills for Students?
This pandemic has been one of the best examples of how hard life can be for students. No one was ready for the rollercoaster of a journey that students experienced this academic year. From learning how to attend online classes, sitting through lectures without understanding much, the uncertainty around the examination, and the pressure of dealing with the pandemic alongside it all has been quite overwhelming for a huge number of students. However, this only highlights the importance of essential life skills. These help students deal with adversity better and maintain their calm against the tallest of mountains. Some of the examples include:
1. Self Awareness and Self Esteem
This includes a student knowing their strengths and weaknesses and acknowledging their limitations. Their aim should be to maximise their strengths and find a way to improve their situation. This also includes building their confidence so that they can face the world and make their contributions in the most efficient way possible.
Also Read: Out of many life-long lessons for your kids, one is to develop ways to boost their self-esteem to make them confident.
2. Time Management
One of the essential life skill activities for students is the ability to manage their time. Nowadays, students have diverse activities to juggle, both extracurricular and co-curriculum. Therefore, the best way to ensure a student not getting overwhelmed is to learn how to manage their time effectively. This means they should have a detailed schedule that helps them manage their time and simultaneously know when just to take a break.
3. Social Awareness
This essential life skill includes developing empathy skills, learning how to co-exist and accept a diversity of views, respecting people from different cultures and backgrounds, and trying to integrate them within their friend circle. The best way to do so has now become social media. As a result, social media has become a big boon for students to try and learn about diversity and expand their friend circles beyond their respective communities.
4. Self Management
Self-management talks of management in terms of curriculum as well as mental and physical health. This, of course, also includes anger management techniques, dealing with stress, sadness, frustration and disappointment. One of the best ways to do this is to promote the habit of positive thinking and affirmations.
5. Relationship Management
Again, one of the most important life skill activities is managing one’s relationships, both personal and professional. This requires mastery over communication skills, teamwork, assertiveness, negotiation, diplomacy, and conflict resolution. All of these are skills that can only be learnt through active means, that is, personal experiences.
6. Cognitive Skills
Cognitive skills are a part of essential life skills for both students and life skills for kids. They include problem-solving techniques, reasoning, rationality, organization, compartmentalization, quick thinking and decision making. Cognitive skills focus more on how well students can navigate the mental challenges they may face while navigating schools or universities.
Nowadays, there is an increased focus on academic performance. However, due to the current situation, children have reduced exposure and less of an opportunity to learn these skills organically. This is why life skill activities become more important to shape the generation that will one day lead the future.