10 life skills your child should know by Primary 6

Train your kid to tackle life as an adult in the real world with these useful tools.

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Life skills are important as they help you to deal effectively with life’s challenges, as well as socialise with as few hiccups as possible. Some people only pick up basic life skills after everyone around them has, and this can cause problems as they might be perceived as ignorant or insensitive.

Much as you don’t want your mini-me to grow up, you don’t want to baby them either as they may become overly reliant on you in the future. So, it’s vital to teach your kids life skills from young, so that they’ll be independent, learn how to socialise and develop healthy self-esteem. Here are 10 skills your kiddo should know before they start secondary school!

1. Clean up after themselves

By secondary school, junior should be able to clean up after themselves, instead of relying on you to pack up after they are done playing. Even if you have a helper to help with the household chores, they should be able to do simple things like bringing their plates and cutlery to the sink after meals, wiping the table and putting their dirty clothes in the laundry basket. Explain to them how their actions will help, so that they will develop the habit of thinking of others, instead of just doing things that will benefit them. Don’t expect them to be great at the chores when they first start. “Avoid being punitive and passing negative comments or criticism, as they will make mistakes and take time to learn. Instead, encourage them by praising their efforts,” advises Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist at Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness.

2. Pack their own bag

Kids as young as 4 years old should be able to pack their own bags. Of course, you should check it before sending them out of the house, because there’s a high chance that the carryall will be filled with toys instead of items they will actually need in preschool. But by the time they are in Primary school, you should be able to trust them to pack their own school bags.

When they pack their own bag, besides encouraging independence, they’ll get to check what homework they have for the day, or if they have any forms that require a parent’s signature.

Explain to them how their actions will help, so that they will develop the habit of thinking of others, instead of just doing things that will benefit them.

3. Wake themselves up

Is your sleepyhead impossible to rouse in the morning, no matter how many times you try dragging them out of bed? Dr Lim states that older kids and teens should learn how to set their own alarms and wake up on their own. “Start by allowing the kids to deal with their schedules in the day. They can then be given the task of setting their alarms every night and waking up by themselves for weekend events,” he suggests.

Being a heavy sleeper isn't an excuse to avoid setting the alarm clock. Get a louder clock, or if your kiddo’s problem is hitting the snooze button repeatedly, try placing the clock somewhere out of reach, so that they will have no choice but to get up to turn it off in the morning.

4. Cook simple dishes

Even the most hopeless cook should be able to fry an egg, or cook a packet of instant noodles without setting off the fire alarm and threatening the safety of those around them. You can start preparing peewee to be efficient in the kitchen from young by introducing them to the stove, pots and pans, and different ingredients that you normally use in the kitchen. Children learn loads just by observing, so don’t be so eager to chase them out of the kitchen. You can also get some kid cookbooks to try various recipes out with your little one!