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Being a kid is often the easiest part of life. You have minimal responsibilities and a built-in support system form your parents and family. Still, this is one of the most imperative parts of a person’s life for learning basic life skills and adopting the habits that will last a lifetime.

This is why you should not overlook the responsibility of teaching kids important skills while they are still young. It is far easier to impart essential concepts to young kids than it is to expect them to learn them later. Train young people while they are still adaptable.

The following are four important life skills that every kid should learn. Whether your child is six or 16, you should be developing these skills in them through activities and programs.

There are likely many opportunities to do so throughout your community, so if you want to ensure your kids have the life skills they need, start getting involved.

Importance of Exercise

Everybody knows that exercise is an important part of living a healthy and active lifestyle. It is just as important for kids as it is for adults.

Pre-teens and teens, in particular, are at an age where they are growing constantly, so it is imperative that they remain physically active during this time. There are tons of fun and easy exercises you can do at home with kids, and you can also get involved in community sports to get your kids’ weekly workout in.

Games, sports and at-home exercises are all great ways to stay physically active with your kids.

Ability to Cook Healthy Foods

The ability to cook is often overlooked when it comes to teaching kids essential life lessons. It is typically seen as the parent’s responsibility to make meals and feed the family, but kids should be taught these skills, too, so that they are prepared to eat well later in life. There are plenty of ways to get kids in the kitchen and show them the healthy cooking skills they will need. In addition to giving cooking lessons at home, there are community centers such as the Sullivan Community Space that often offer healthy cooking classes for kids.

Social-Emotional Learning

Social-emotional learning (SEL) describes the skill sets of self-control, self-awareness, and interpersonal communication that define human interactions.

The importance of SEL cannot be overemphasized. Integrating it into your children’s education teaches them about personal responsibility, healthy relationships, and the navigation of difficult situations at any age.

Modeling Good Behavior

A child’s initial understanding of social-emotional concepts starts at home. Children are constantly mirroring the language, behavior, and values of the adults around them; this is how their brains and their social-emotional skills develop. For this reason, parents and guardians should strive to be their child’s number one positive role model.

Talking to your children about social aptitude in a contextual manner will allow them to integrate new information over time. As conflicts naturally arise at home or at school, listen carefully to your child’s emotions and process them together. Ask your child what purpose the emotions are serving. Once the dust has settled, you can discuss the lessons learned.

When difficulty presents itself in your life or that of the family, strive to stay centered and healthy as you work through it. This is perhaps the most influential way to show your child how they can address emotionally intense situations with care.

Addressing Health Concerns

The basics of social-emotional learning are priceless. Impulse control, honest communication, and emotional interpretation are crucial elements of human relationships. Equipping your children with this kind of personal awareness will prepare them for any mental health challenges they may come across in their lives.

If your child is showing signs of neurodiversity like those associated with autism, ADHD, anxiety, or depression, evaluating his or her social and emotional skills may help you to understand the implications. SEL resources from Western Psychological Services (WPS) will provide you with clarification on the specifics of social-emotional learning and your role in the process. 

A wide range of WPS assessment tools is available for any other child development needs you may have. Sensory integration, speech assistance, and school psychology are among their areas of expertise.

Cultivating Emotional Resilience

Emotional resilience is the ability to simultaneously accept uncomfortable emotions and bounce back from troublesome situations. These feelings may be accompanied by a significant life change such as divorce, moving, or the loss of a loved one.

Social-emotional learning sets your child up for emotional resilience by naming and describing the behaviors that are both effective and appropriate in times of crisis. Teach your children that healthy social support systems can save lives. Grief, withdrawal, embarrassment, anger, and sensitivity should be underlined as normal to remove any internalized stigma they may carry.

Demonstrating the core tenants of social-emotional learning will prepare your children to make favorable decisions at various life stages, no matter what obstacles they might face. Remind them that mistakes are an inevitable part of the learning experience and that seeking help is always encouraged.

Whether you decide to tackle SEL directly or indirectly, let it be an indispensable component of your parenting. Do your best to model healthy behavior to your children, and watch as they blossom into adaptable, capable, and considerate individuals.

Learn how teachers and other school professionals can benefit from SEL resources and assessments at WPS.

Setting and Achieving Goals

Perhaps the most important skills for kids to learn is the ability to set and achieve goals.

Those goals might be academic, social or health-related, but it is important to identify, plan and meet objectives. For kids, these goals might be small, but they are important nonetheless.

Teach kids how to make goals and succeed by encouraging them to develop a unique objective, make a plan for achieving it and enjoy the success of meeting their goal.

This exercise can greatly help kids understand the importance of values such as determination and drive.

4 Essential Life Skills Every Kid Should Learn