Developing Valuable Life Skills as a Family

The 5 Key Life Skills to Teach Your Children

It’s important that we teach our children practical life skills–skills that teach them how to survive in society–how to thrive in society. Think about it this way, if children were young trees, parents would be the timber support stake, needed to support it, until it grows strong.

These practical life skills can be divided into categories and the skills that fall within each category are many, varied and probably endless.  The question then arises as to which life skills you value and which life skills you want to teach to your children.

Here are a few ideas to think about exploring with them. Ask them to explain why the skill is important and any positive or negative examples they have seen of each. Alternatively – there are some skills you may decide to focus on as a family. Perhaps a “Skill of the Week”. Whichever way you use them, the lists below give you the chance to stop and think about the privileged of raising children and the incredible opportunity to develop valuable life skills with them.

Communication skills

It is absolutely critical that people learn how to effectively communicate with one another, both verbally and through the written word. 

  • Be truthful–your word means everything
  • Speak kindly–don’t be hurtful with the words you use
  • Say please, thank you, no thank you, etc. People appreciate manners
  • Eye contact is very important
  • As important as your words are, your actions are even more important
  • When in doubt, ask questions
  • Being able to organise and write your thoughts down on paper is important
  • Realise that what you write may be read by many people–unintended readers as well as intended readers
  • Be very careful what you write/post on social network sites
  • Never, ever, ever use your communication skills to bully or make fun of anyone

Relationship Skills

A similar important skill set is the formation and maintenance of relationships. The ability to form and maintain relationships affects every aspect of our lives. Relationship beliefs and skills that you may want your children to master include:

  • Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself
  • Do not confuse kindness for weakness. Recognise and value kindness
  • It’s important to be reliable
  • There is no such thing as being too polite, too kind, or too reliable
  • Value other people’s time
  • Friends come and go–but your family is forever
  • Empathy–it’s very important
  • You love people for their faults as well as their strengths
  • It’s important to treat animals kindly
  • Treat other people’s property with respect
  • Be kind to those that love you
  • You have instincts for a reason. If something or someone doesn’t feel right, trust yourself
  • Compromise is important
  • You don’t always have to be right
  • It really is more fun to give than to receive

Financial skills

Financial literacy is extremely important as money is a necessary part of life. The repercussions of not having these skills can be devastating. Financial skills that you may want your children to learn include:

  • Understand the value of money
  • Know how to budget and live within your budget
  • The concept of compound interest
  • If an investment opportunity looks too good to be true, then it probably is
  • The importance and pitfalls of credit
  • Know how to make a dollar go a long way

Day-to-day living skills

These skills/concepts are certainly important and should not be undervalued. Some everyday living skills/concepts that you may want your children to master include the following. You could add to and build this list together.

  • Know your way around a computer–know how to fix things–know how to use programs
  • Know how to swim
  • Know how to maintain a vehicle so you don’t run out of oil and so your windshield wipers always work
  • Be able to change a tyre
  • If you make something from scratch it gives you a personal sense of accomplishment
  • Know how to do the wash, hem your pants, sew on buttons, and iron a garment
  • Know how to make healthy food
  • Know how to read a label

Philosophical lessons

These lessons are very important and can have an effect on one’s happiness. You may want your children to understand the following:

  • Thoughts are very powerful
  • Enjoy what you have
  • Always do your best. Realise your best may change from day to day
  • It’s ok to be wrong–in fact, that’s how we learn

As homeschool parents we teach by example… as well as in lesson form. And it’s our responsibility to make sure our children possess the skills necessary to survive — even to thrive in the real world. So, the question is, what do you want to teach your children?