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Life skills every child should learn 

By Sharon Williams

Contributing columnist 

Today the neighborhood, tomorrow the world! If you are a parent, you understand that kids are always stretching their boundaries. Whether your kids are in the exploring their pack and play stage, learning to ride their bike around the neighborhood or out tackling the adventures of life on their own — they all want to explore their world. It is our job as parents to teach them the important life skills they need to be able to thrive in their world.

I remember when we moved into an earlier house when the kids were toddlers. Our then 3-year-old son stood on the edge of the back deck and asked me, “How far can I go?” We had lived in a duplex with a tiny back yard his first three years and he was never allowed to explore. Now we had a huge fenced in backyard. He couldn’t quite believe he was now allowed to go all the way to the back fence.

As a parent, I want to equip my kids with skill sets that will let them tackle their neighborhood today and the world tomorrow — with confidence.

Basic Cooking Skills

All kids should learn basic cooking skills. It is important to teach our kids how to boil water for hot chocolate, oatmeal, macaroni and cheese and of course — Ramen Noodles. But it’s also important for them to learn how to follow basic recipes and cook simple meals.

How to Ride a Bike

If you can ride a bike, you can travel the world. Many countries don’t rely on cars the way we do in America. Bikes require no gasoline, minimum upkeep and will get you anywhere you need to go in a pinch. 

How to Read

If you can read, you can figure out almost anything. You can decipher instruction manuals, learn how to assemble a child’s toy, go on adventures to far off places and figure out how to master an Xbox game. 

Reading will earn you perks with summer reading programs too. Make sure you check out your local library and bookstores for summer reading incentive programs.

How to ask questions

A well-asked question will get you the answers you need to navigate life. Anyone with a teenager knows that it’s all about the question. If you ask a question that can be answered with a yes or no, you will never get full information. But if you phrase the question correctly, you can discover a wealth of information.

How to listen

There’s a reason we have two ears and only one mouth. Listen to what your kids tell you and then rephrase it for them so they can learn from your actions. Listening is not a passive experience. We need to be teach our kids that when we really listen, we put down the phone, close the computer and look them in the eye. Listening is something that requires our full attention and is a skill to be practiced.

How to make healthy choices

Our kids need to learn that healthy lifestyle choices are not just for adults. They need to be active everyday so they can avoid some of the health issues that our generation faces. Take time to go swimming or hiking on a family outing. Go outside and play cornhole after supper instead of playing electronics. Keep fresh fruit out on the counter so it is readily available for healthy snacks. Find what works best for you and make sure the kids are living an active lifestyle.

There are many life skills that we need to be teaching our kids. What do you think are the most valuable skills that will help our kids grow into healthy, responsible adults? I’d love to hear.

For more ideas on hobbies and life, check out Hobbies on a Budget. (www.hobbiesonabudget.com)