seojiwo August 11, 2023 0 Comments

Life Skills to Teach Your Child by Age 10

There’s so much for our children to learn in today’s high-tech world that it can become easy for them to miss out on practical life skills. In fact, a 2014 study by the security company AVG Technologies found that while 57% of 3- to 5-year-olds can navigate at least one app on a smartphone, only 14% could tie their shoes.

“I see many parents doing everything for their kids instead of letting them fend for themselves,” says Tim Elmore, founder of Growing Leaders, a nonprofit in Atlanta that works with schools and civic groups to promote leadership qualities in kids. “We must prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child.”

By focusing on life skills early on, you can do just that. Read on for tips on teaching your young kids practical skills.

Preparing a Simple Meal

Invite your child to help make meals and do your best to stay calm when the flour spills and the eggshells fly. Some ideas to get young children started in the kitchen:

  • Practice cutting a banana with a plastic or wooden knife.
  • Let preschoolers spoon yogurt into a bowl and add cut prewashed fruit.
  • Show kids 5 and older how to make sandwiches and smoothies.
  • Let those 7 and older try using the toaster oven.

If you gradually add to their developing kitchen skills, your child should be able to use the stovetop with supervision by age 10.

Using the Web Wisely

With kids spending more time on screens than ever before, it’s essential to reinforce a few rules to help them safely navigate the digital world, says Joscelyn Ramos Campbell, a mom of four in Clermont, Florida, who blogs at Mami of Multiples. So as soon as your child can use technology unsupervised, go over these best practices:

  • Help your child choose a password that’s hard to guess and tell them to never share it with anyone except you.
  • Ensure your child only chats with people they know in real life and doesn’t give out personal information such as their birthday, home address, or phone number.
  • Remind your child to be kind; anything they send or say virtually is there forever.
  • Have your child get permission or ask for help from you before downloading something or clicking a pop-up.
  • Most importantly, let your kid know they can come to you with any issue. “This is a conversation you will have again and again as your children get older,” says Ramos Campbell.

Doing the Laundry

Too many teens head out on their own without knowing how to clean their clothes. Don’t let your child become one of them.

You can begin laundry lessons when kids are around 6. If you have a top-loading washer, keep a step stool nearby. Walk them through the process—how to measure and add the detergent, choose the settings, and start the machine—and make it fun.

Amy Mascott, who blogs at Teach Mama, taught her three kids by choosing cute names for each job, like Wash Warrior, Super-Fly Dry Guy, and Put ‘Em Away Triple Play.

Planting a Seedling

Many preschoolers learn to plant seeds in class but not how to transfer sprouts into a garden. Whitney Cohen, co-author of The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids and education director at Life Lab, breaks the steps down:

  1. Prepare a spot to plant a seedling. If possible, add about 2 inches of organic compost to the top of the soil. Mix it in, break up dirt clods, and water the soil until it’s almost as moist as a wrung-out sponge.
  2. Dig a hole. Ask your child to dig a hole slightly larger than the plant’s container.
  3. Remove the seedling. By age 6 or 7, kids can remove a seedling on their own. First, have your child split two fingers apart so the plant’s stem goes between them. Then turn the potted seedling upside down and squeeze the outside of the container until the plant comes out. If the roots are wound tightly, your kid should loosen them a few at a time before planting.
  4. Plant it! Once you remove the plant from the pot and place it in the hole, have your kid delicately push soil around it and pat it down.
  5. Water. Let your child water it with a gentle stream from a watering can with a perforated nozzle.

Writing a Letter

Letter writing is a lost art, but it doesn’t have to be. Toddlers can dictate a note to a family member or a friend (enhanced with drawings, of course), attach the stamp, and drop it into a mailbox. Older children can pen their own letters and address envelopes. You can also take the opportunity to teach them the five parts of a letter: date, greeting, body, closing, and signature.

Helping Someone Who’s Choking

According to the American Heart Association, children as young as 9 can learn CPR. Programs such as Heimlich Heroes offer abdominal-thrust training resources for kids in second grade and up.

Former EMT Andrea Saroza, a mom in Cumming, Georgia, started showing her kids the basics when they were just in preschool. “I had them practice on teddy bears,” says Saroza. In 2019, those lessons paid off in a big way when her daughter Kiara Fernandez, now 14, saved her younger sister Jadah, 12, from choking in a restaurant when Saroza wasn’t present.

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