essential life skills for kids

5 Essential Life Skills for Kids

Not every student in your school will grow up to be a doctor, engineer, or business guru. But they will all become adults someday. And they will need the right life skills to be resilient, well-adjusted, and capable of navigating daily life.

They need to know how to take care of themselves mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially from an early age.

For this reason, teaching life skills for kids in school is as crucial as showing children how to count and spell.

Life skills go hand in hand with a child’s development. They promote healthy living and healthy minds, enabling the child to live to their highest potential and better interact with their environment.

Here are 5 life skills for kids that you can start incorporating in your classes today.

1. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Skills

School can feel like an emotional roller coaster for kids. Every day, they are faced with academic and social challenges that bring out a wide range of feelings.

Teach your kids emotional intelligence.

It’s one of the critical life skills for kids, helping them navigate the full range of emotions. Besides, it gives students the capability to:

  • Identify their emotions and those of others.
  • Control their emotions.
  • Show empathy.
  • Communicate their feelings effectively.
  • Appreciate people’s uniqueness.

Equipping students with emotional intelligence helps them focus and learn better. If they can keep their anger or excitement under control, they’ll be more attentive in class.

Emotionally intelligent children are capable of making decisions that are not influenced by their emotions. They can resolve conflicts nonviolently, respect the opinions of others, and build healthy relationships.

You can instill emotional intelligence in kids at school by acknowledging your students’ feelings.

When you notice emotions building in a kid, ask them how they are feeling and about the events that led up to those feelings. Give the child a vocabulary for the feelings and encourage them to develop strategies to cope with each emotion.

Engage the students in problem-solving. Any problem they tackle together, from setting class rules to solving math problems, can improve their emotional intelligence while equipping them with other life skills, such as teamwork and patience.

As you read stories in class, encourage the children to put themselves in the character’s shoes. For instance, ask them what they think the character is thinking or feeling.

Remember to model emotional intelligence to your students. Talk to the children about your own emotional experiences and remain calm in class, especially in stressful situations.

2. Money Management Life Skills

According to a survey of financial literacy involving respondents from 26 countries, results indicated that young people between ages 18 and 29 have the lowest financial literacy.

This is a problem, as young people must make consequential financial decisions well before the age of 30.

Studies have indicated that strong personal finance life skills create a path to financial stability.

Equip students with personal financial skills from an early age. Introduce them to the fundamentals of budgeting, saving, investing, charity, and debt.

Speaking of debt, repaying student loans can be challenging. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, the national student loan debt is at a staggering $1.6 trillion, with 17% of borrowers behind on their student loan payments.

Teach young children about debt management before they’re faced with the decision to take on a hefty student loan. This ensures that they know the financial commitment they are getting into, and the impact it will have on their life.

Give the students practical lessons.

For instance, teach budgeting and saving using play money. Give each child three jars—savings, expenses, and charity.

Set up activities that will help the children earn play money. Every time they earn money, they can split it between the three jars.

This will enable the child to:

  • See that money is earned through work.
  • Watch their balance grow, equipping them with other life skills such as patience and hard work.
  • Learn that giving is essential. The charity jar can be dedicated to something the child cares deeply about, like an animal shelter.
  • Start building a healthy relationship with money.

You can ask them to open a savings bank account for kids with the help of a grown-up. They can use it to save their gift money, allowances, or money they make from doing extra chores at home.

Teach your kids the differences between needs and wants and the importance of prioritizing needs over wants. It will help them build healthy spending habits.

3. Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is the ability to think both clearly and rationally while understanding the links between different ideas.

This is among the best life skills to teach school-aged children.

Critical thinking gives students the ability to reason and think independently. They become active learners who question ideas and assumptions instead of accepting them passively.

Equipped with this life skill, students are capable of solving problems independently and making logical judgments.

Critical thinking fosters academic success in a little one. It also makes them less likely to be influenced by their friends or join unhelpful school cliques.

It sets them up for success as adults.

Here are a few ways you can encourage critical thinking life skills in class:

  • Apply inquiry-based learning. Ask students provocative open-ended questions so they can apply what they’ve learned.

  • Create time for group discussions and group projects under adult supervision. This exposes the children to the different thinking processes among their peers.

  • Brainstorm problems or scenarios in class to encourage original thinking among students. Find ways to incorporate your students’ different points of view and encourage constructive controversy.

  • Inspire creativity in children through art projects.

  • Encourage decision-making by getting students to choose between activities and games. Work with them in evaluating the pros and cons of each choice, and then allow them to make the final decision.

4. Daily Living Skills

Daily living life skills focus on activities that the child will need to perform regularly to lead a healthy and safe lifestyle. One of the main daily living life skills for kids is cooking skills.

Teaching kids the life skill of healthy cooking from an early age makes them unlikely to rely on foods with questionable nutritional value that can cause obesity, such as fast foods.

Additionally, as the children work together at the kitchen table under adult supervision, they get to build other life skills for kids, such as responsibility and teamwork.

Self-care life skills are also essential in building independence in a child. While things like showing a child how to dress, shave, or brush their hair are part of parenting, you can get the kids to build a habit of personal hygiene in school, too.

Activities that can equip school-age kids with these life skills may involve:

  • Preschool children learning how to separate laundry by sorting dark and light colors.
  • Older children learning how to use a washing machine and the right amount of detergent to use.
  • Learning how to fold and store clothes.
  • Discussions with the kids about the importance of taking care of themselves and the consequences of poor hygiene.

5. Communication Skills

The ability to listen and communicate a message clearly, either in written or spoken form, is one of the most critical life skills for kids.

Great communication skills will help kids build healthier relationships and manage conflict better.

The children will learn to listen to others’ points of view, explain their opinion clearly, and read non-verbal cues.

What are the best strategies to teach communication life skills for kids in school?

Illustrate how to have a productive face to face conversation, including the skill of turn-taking. For younger kids, try using puppets. Older kids can learn through role-playing and video modeling.

Train students how to listen and use appropriate physical cues. For instance, you can use the S.L.A.N.T. strategy. This is an acronym illustrating the body language children can use to focus on the speaker.

  • S – Sit up straight
  • L – Lean forward towards the speaker and listen
  • A – Ask questions and answer when asked
  • N – Nod your head to show you understand
  • T – Track the speaker using your eyes to avoid losing attention

Encourage the use of respectful language. Explain to the children that bad language can be hurtful to another person’s feelings.

Ready to Introduce Life Skills for Kids in Your School?

School provides the perfect environment to teach kids life skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

You can achieve this by:

  • Teaching life skills through fun activities that encourage the kids to talk and listen to each other, work together, compromise, and respect different opinions.
  • Tweaking your teaching strategy to encourage students to think outside the box.
  • Teaching life skills through group work and group discussions.
  • Introducing separate life skills classes like cooking and financial management.
  • Being a strong role model for the children by demonstrating the right life skills.

A more comprehensive approach to introducing life skills for kids in your school is through our extensive Positive Action Program Training or the Whole School Reform Model.

Our life skills curriculum is tailored to instill the most useful life skills in ways that are easy and fun for kids.

Incorporating our training will also improve your students’ academics, behavioral and social-emotional aspects, along with their mental and physical health.

Positive Action is based on the philosophy that positive actions influence positive thoughts and positive feelings. This improves the child’s self-concept while developing the whole self.

Begin training today. We will equip you with the right tools to impart critical life skills to the kids in your school.

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