What hopes and dreams do you have for your children?
Do you hope that they will leave home as well-balanced individuals, capable of taking their place in society?
The good news is that school will help them achieve that by concentrating on the academic side of things
And (the good ones) will throw in education on a few important life skills as well.
But in my experience schools generally fall short in teaching kids life skills – these are skills that all adults and children should have.
These are the really important life skills
If you or anyone you know really struggles with life, odds are that there is a lack of expertise in one of these areas.
That’s how important they are!
Here are my top 10 important life skills to teach your children
It’s never too early to start learning new life skills
And you can help your kids by teaching them
And that doesn’t always mean actually sitting down with them and teaching them formally
Kids learn just as much by watching how people behave
(Or by learning them yourself and then teaching your kids these skills, by example if necessary)
1. Communication Skills
Communication is how we get by in life through our interaction with others
And it makes sense that the better our communication skills are, the better chance we have of succeeding
Communication with others (real, face to face communication) is not just about talking
Communication is also about listening, asking questions, and learning how to deal with other people
Think about how you come across to your kids in your communications and ask yourself whether you always set the right example
This may be in communicating directly to them
Or how you are on the telephone
Or how you talk to the milkman or the mailman
Setting a good example when you communicate is vital to the development of communication skills in children
2. The Ability to Solve Problems.
Life is full of challenges.
Figuring out how to be successful in school, navigating through a new job, making the basketball team:
These are all common challenges we must solve.
Life is less intimidating when you learn processes that help you conquer challenges, whatever they may be.
Avoid the temptation to solve your children’s challenges for them.
Let them strive to figure solutions out on their own.
Problem-solving is one of the most important life skills your child could have
3. Find a Passion.
No one ever trained us to go out and find the things that really excite and motivate us.
Most of us were taught that working and having a job stinks, so you’d better get used to it.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way!
Everyone should have something they are passionate about and enough sense of independence to attach to it.
Whether their passion is football, basketball or playing the piano it doesn’t really matter
I used to be really into “sporting statistics” (yes I was a bit of geek) and still really love that sort of stuff
Find their passion and encourage it
Children need to be nurtured to become more and more independent as they grow up.
Many adults need to learn to be more independent as well.
Strive to increase your child’s independence a little bit at a time.
5. Being Content When Alone.
Some children are incapable of spending even 15 minutes without the attention of others.
As children grow up, they learn to attach to other things to find contentment.
Buying silly things, the Internet, food, video games, and more can all become addictions in their own way to avoid being alone.
Adults are no different.
There is great power in being able to amuse yourself.
It makes life easier, with fewer destructive temptations.
The ability to work well with others and control our own anger is directly tied to our ability to be compassionate toward others.
Strive to be more compassionate in your everyday life and teach your children the same.
Being compassionate is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
7. Dealing With Change.
Change is one of the few constants in life.
Those who can be flexible and deal with change effectively are much more successful and happier than those who can’t.
They are much less likely to get upset when big changes do occur and have the ability to take that change in their stride
Help your child to learn to deal with change and you’ll be doing them a huge favor in their development into adulthood
8. Public Speaking
Learning to be confident and teaching kids how to speak in public is really important for them to find their own voice
Even being able to have their say with a group of friends is a really important life skill to have.
So encourage your kids to speak in public and build up their public speaking confidence
Here is an article on improving your public speaking skills
9. The World of Work.
Introducing your kids to the world of work early is one of the most important life skills you can give them
The many benefits will be that they are earning their own money and that they are taught responsibility and integrity,
In addition, any work experience can be added to their CV or resume for future applications
10. Managing Finances
Managing finance as one of the important life skills is one of my personal bugbears
It is vital that children can handle money, and be confident with money from an early age
That way they will start to make the right financial choices when they become adults
Important Life Skills – Summary
Schools teach us many things but they don’t teach us everything.
These necessary skills that aren’t taught in school can be more valuable than anything we learn during our formal education.
Check yourself and your child for the presence of these really important life skills
Your lives (and that of your children) will ultimately be much better for it.
This article “10 Important Life Skills to Teach Your Children” was first published in 2014 and was updated and republished in March 2021