Children don’t have any worries. They are the cute little freeloaders that make you smile many times but manage to give you headaches simultaneously. Still, you love them and would do anything for them. However, you can’t do everything for them forever. At some point, they will have to learn how to do things for themselves. So, this is the big question. Have you equipped your child to be able to stand alone? What are the skills they need to learn at this age that will help them in the future?
As a parent, you may not know what is right to teach your child at a certain age. At times, you may think a particular skill is too much for them. Well, we have made things easy for you. This is a list of eight skills you can start teaching your child now:
Communication is one of the essential skills they must learn in their early life stages. Your child may not be learning anything anytime soon if they don’t even know how to communicate. Many adults still shy away from expressing themselves, resulting from their upbringing. So, talk to your children and listen to them when they speak to you. Avoid suppressing your child’s expression of emotions, as doing so may have a negative impact on their personality. Listen to your children and have intelligent conversations with them. Allowing them some playtime with their peers is also a fantastic way of improving their communication skills.
We are constantly making decisions every second of every day. We must choose which cereal to eat, what to wear, whether to take the bus and who to talk to. Making choices is an integral part of life, and a failure to develop this skill early on can have consequences in the future. So, let your child start by making little choices; this toy or that, this meal or that. Slowly, they’ll learn what they like and what determines their choices. All this will not happen like a script, but they’ll start to internalize the decision-making process.
Yes, your child can start learning food prep by the time they are between six and twelve. You don’t have to teach your child how to make a gourmet meal, but maybe a sandwich will work. It starts small; guide them as they pour milk into the cereal. Teach them how to fix a simple sandwich. Allow them to pass you the salt or the pepper in the kitchen. Also, give them a chance to decide what to eat a few times. Cooking is an important life skill. You must note that anything you want your child to do in the kitchen should be done under the supervision of an adult, at least until they get the hang of it.
No one will pick up after your child forever, not even you. At some point, they’ll have to do it for themselves. Cleaning up after them may seem faster and easier, but you’ll deprive your child of an important life skill. When they make a mess of the floor with their toys, get them to pick up the toys and gather them in a box. Start with little chores. Of course, we don’t expect you to ask them to wash the van, but they can help with many chores by contributing to their tiny quotas. They can wipe a surface with a towel when they mess it up, make their beds, dust furniture, etc. They will eventually learn how to do these chores properly if you let them begin at a young age.
Maybe you love to be the one to doll your child up, and maybe, they love it too. However, you have to let them decide what to wear once they are old enough. If you don’t allow your kids to dress themselves at some point, you will never find out, and chances are they never will too. They will only depend on your choices and suppress theirs, which is not good enough. So, allow your child to pick out their clothes for school or an outing. You’ll get to learn a lot about them through this. It may also spare you some time, although more often than not, it wouldn’t.
Your child wouldn’t play for twelve hours a day, would they? Yes, they would, if allowed, because they do not understand the concept of time. All they know is that they are having fun and will keep going if there’s no one to stop them. This is why you have to teach your child time management. No, this is not a suggestion to create such a tight schedule that they would feel suffocated; that would have adverse effects. Let them know what time is for a certain activity. Teach them how to keep at a task and when to move on to the next part of their day. This should start with some flexibility, but as time goes on, teach them to be stricter with their time because time, as they say, is money.
Speaking of money, your child will also need to learn how to manage that. Your child may not be working, and chances are that managing money is the least of their problems. However, it will be as they grow older; if they don’t get it now, it will be difficult when it is important. Teach your kids about money, and find fun ways to engage them in little financial decisions. Encourage them to save. Teach them how to spend wisely. If you get two cones of ice cream now, will you be able to get another tomorrow? What if you get only one now? How about that? This way, it will be easier for them to make bigger financial decisions and manage larger amounts of money later in life. Smart shopping also falls under this. Many kids want everything they see in the supermarket and do not care about the price. All they do is point and hope it tips into the shopping cart. Teach them to weigh their options properly and not to make purchases blindly.
We couldn’t end this without mentioning one thing that is ruling the world now. Many of our kids have mobile phones or tablets at very young ages and often have access to the internet. For this, strict rules are necessary because a lot can go wrong if you allow children to go wild on the internet. You can give them a specified amount of screen time or have them seek permission before they do certain things on the web. This will save you a lot of unprecedented stress.
You have all it takes to prepare your child for a bright future. You do not want to put a child that can not make simple decisions into society. Imagine if your child got trampled upon because they couldn’t speak for themselves or if they dressed badly because they never understood how to pick outfits. All these frankly horrifying scenarios can be prevented if you teach your child these important life skills as early as possible. You’ll be glad you did, and they’ll thank you.
You don’t have to do all these by yourself, there are programs in place to help you out. You know what they say, it takes a village to raise a child. One such program that will help your child develop these life skills is the MCCA (Montgomery County Children Association). They are well-equipped to help your child develop by engaging them in meaningful extracurriculars in a safe environment with their peers. Some of their programs include Weller Road Elementary School, Brooke Grove Elementary, MCCA Park Street, etc.
MCCA has been recognized by the Maryland State Legislature for its commitment to Montgomery County issued a quality programs and special needs child care Proclamation in 2016 to MCCA for its commitment to Montgomery County child care for more than 50 years. MCCA was also selected as a 2018 nonprofit finalist for a MOXIE Award for boldness and innovation
MCCA is the oldest nonprofit licensed child care provider in Montgomery County and started its work in 1968 as a Community Action Project of the War on Poverty. Recognizing the need for quality child care programs in their neighborhoods, a group of local activists formed an association to establish centers in Montgomery County that would serve a diverse population and establish high standards for child care. Now, more than 50 years later, MCCA’s dedicated and expertly trained staff continue their tradition of providing high quality child care and play-based education for children.
Families with school aged children who can afford their child care expenses during the school year often struggle to afford the all-day programs they need when school is out for the summer. The Richard Krampf Summer Adventures Scholarship Fund was established to help provide children a safe and stimulating place to spend their weeks when school is out. Please contact an MCCA Director for details on how to apply.