11 Skills every child should know before they turn 18
Remember college days? That smart girl who read a lot of books, but, had no friends? That guy who seemed to act smart but received a lot of punishments? How hopelessly difficult your friend found talking to strangers? Yes! Those old days! It was acceptable for us to act naive at times. It’s not the same for our children. They need to grow tenacious in this hastily growing world.
Your kid is probably an infant, a child or even about to turn 17 now. Ever wonder what happens when they turn 18? What if they need to live in another city for college? Are they responsible enough to handle their affairs?
There are various skills that will come in handy to help your child become a responsible adult. With these skills, your children will be able to survive when they are adults. Even when they leave your nest, you will stay assured that ‘He/She will be fine’
We have assembled these 11 skills, you can teach your child. There is no ‘TOO LATE’ to practice these skills. Ultimately, we want to help you raise your child as a wise adult.
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1. Build conversation skills
Do you remember the time when you dragged your child to go to a wedding? Even when your child wasn’t ready to go. All the relatives at the wedding kept on pulling your child’s cheeks. They kept on asking crazy questions like ‘What’s your name?’ ‘Do you know me?’ No? Your child doesn’t know that third cousin from your second uncle. They are all strangers for your child. The difference is, you know those strangers and your children don’t.
We teach our children not to talk to a stranger. Instead, why not teach them how to begin a conversation with people they meet for the first time. You can play a little game with your child. Ask him/her to come up with 5 questions they can ask someone they meet the first time. Have a role play where you are the stranger to your child.
2. Support system
When we left our parents nest for the first time to live in another city, how we wished our classmates could be a little friendly with us! That someone could, at least once ask us to dine with the group! Teach your child to be that someone.
Being a support system to a friend or strangers is humble. Whether your child leaves home for college or not, him/her being a strong support system is important. When your child’s friend needs help, encourage your child to find a thoughtful solution. Guide your child, to guide other people.
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3. Take public transport
Your child, before turning 18 needs to learn taking public transports. Teach them how to climb the right bus or train. Teach them to get a ticket ride. Until they get comfortable, try to go out with your children occasionally. Teach your child to book a cab, the feature of those applications.
Unless children travel in public transport, they won’t understand the strata of society. Different culture, different people, travel at the same time on the same bus. Let your child explore all of these. Google maps is another thing that children need to learn. When they have to go some unknown place by cab or auto, it is secure than they see the right route.
4. Self-reliant and self-sufficient
We have accustomed children to ask parents for every little and big thing they need. They come to you even if they need a new soap for bathing. You need to prep your children in a way that they can take care of their affairs. Their regular routine problems have to be solved on their own. Your child should be able to begin a normal day and end it, without your help. You are at the bus stop to see off your child. Your child should be self-reliant enough that you don’t have to ask if he/she forgot anything.
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5. Time management
When children grow up they often sneak out for parties or bunk the lectures. No, we cannot change that. That’s universal. But, with this skill, children can still manage to attend that important practical next day! Children need to be able to govern their own time. In future, your child will go to college and even get a high profile job. At that time managing time will be hand over fist for them. If they get 3 presentations at once or 2 exams on the same day, with this skill they will be managing it all with ease.
6. Money management
No matter where your child resides, hostel or home, ‘Pocket money’ is going off your purse. When that happens money management is the first thing you need to teach your child. Instead of going for ‘Don’t waste money on this and that’ try discussing money management.
Give your own examples. The time when you poured all your project money to gift your favourite friend, expensive chocolates.
Make your child earn, instead of just handing out the pocket money. Give some work like wash your own clothes or keep your room clean. Your child will be responsible for that work. If the work is done, at the end of the month he/she earns the reward. This will also teach children the value of money.
7. Handle failures
Who doesn’t face failure? We all have been in that tunnel at least once. It’s a tight hug from life to make you stronger. Does failure itself make us stronger? No! It is our courage to rise above and face it. Now, that is what we are talking about!
Teach your children right from the beginning, how they can handle failure. If children fail the test or even scoreless, don’t simply lash out. Guiding them will do two things. 1: Help your child secure good grades the next time. 2: They won’t just study out of fear of failure. They will have the courage to break these obstacles and move ahead.
Failure doesn’t revolve around books and marks only. It has a lot to do with rejection as well. Children can literally go under depression due to a single rejection. As children grow up, they will eventually have many friends, even develop a crush on someone. This is something we all did. If a friend suddenly stops talking to a child, he can, in fact, get depressed. If your child asks someone out and faces rejection, it can have a bad effect as well.
So try to talk it out with your child as much as you can. Make them believe that the world doesn’t stop just there. A few failures or rejections are not the end of the world. Encourage your child not to quit. No matter what.
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8. Learn to express their opinions
Remember that PTA meet? The teacher complaints about your child. You were furious and your child was silently standing at a corner. Let’s not that happen again. Allowing children to put forth their opinion is as important as anything else. This will develop a habit in children to speak up when something goes wrong.
Children often stay quiet due to the fear of being judged. In a friend circle, they won’t hesitate to express themselves. But, these children won’t utter a word in front of parents or teachers. They might also choose to show arrogance but won’t express their view. This is not your child’s mistake. Show them that you won’t misjudge. Make your child believe that anything can be easily shared with you.
9. First aid skills (Crisis Response)
No! First aid kit isn’t to carry only when you go for a trek or picnic. First aid involves basic knowledge of antiseptics and medicines. Teach your child the basic medicines and their properties. Develop a habit of carrying a first aid kit, always.
CPR is another thing that has to be taught. When a crisis happens, your child needs to respond with courage and strength. Even if your child doesn’t know how to respond, the courage will help him/her to guide the injured to the hospital.
10. Day-to-day errands
Doing laundry is simple and let’s face it, it’s clean. Teach your child to do his/her own laundry every once a while. If children act stubborn give some allowance if they do their laundry.
In the current stage of swiggy and uber, children are losing the art of cooking. Why cook for 2 hours when we can get our food ready at the door in 15 minutes? Make your child independent when it comes to food. Guide children to other housework as well. Ask them to wash the utensils, even clean the floors and windows.
Take your child at the bank and other service places that you visit every once a month. This will teach them the general knowledge of how the system works. So they can do it on their own.
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11. Appreciation and gratitude
Toddler, young or old, appreciation and gratitude is necessary for everyone. Start appreciation right at home. Appreciate children for all their good deeds. Let them appreciate other people, their friends. Make them understand how appreciation encourages other people to do more better things.
Teach your child to be grateful for small and big things. Ask your child to write 5 things he/she is grateful for at the end of the day, every night. Practice this exercise with your child, even you can do this. You will see a tremendous positive change in your child’s nature and behaviour towards other people.
Whichever skill children adapt, it reflects in their behaviour. With your guidance, your child can improve their skills and take responsibilities. There are several other skills and knowledge every parent wills to teach their children. It is never too late to teach children what is beneficial for themselves. So, take your time and guide your child to learn new skills.