A child’s education (including skills development) is often the combined effort of a collection of people . While we trust that teachers will guide our children through the core curriculum at school, there are some lessons which transpire outside of the classroom. Today’s digital age has bred a culture which fosters impatience, and often, laziness. Unfortunately, under these conditions, it is easy for children to miss out on learning basic and practical life skills that prepare them for future independence – and this is where parents need to take action!
Learning how to ride a bike is a huge milestone for children! It’s their first taste of freedom and often becomes a source of socialising with other children. However, accidents can happen and it is vital to ensure that your child is practising safe cycling habits before they head out on the road.
Spend a day going over the rules of the road with them and later have them demonstrate their knowledge with a few supervised practice sessions in an empty parking lot. Stress to your child that under no circumstance can he or she ride a bike without a very good helmet. Use your best judgment about whether or not your child is ready to ride their bike on the main road without supervision.
When you live on an island swimming can feel second nature! Yet everyone must start somewhere and it is good to get children started sooner rather than later. There is a wealth of benefits associated with learning to swim, including improved physical and mental health, water safety and coordination. Sign your child up for baby and toddler swimming lessons to kick-start their confidence in the water. An instructor will provide hands-on assistance as they teach your child to kick and glide through the water. As your child gets older, they can be taught the core skills, such as floating independently and strokes. Fitness Connection and Sky Blue Aquatics have been teaching children how to swim on Island for years and come highly recommended.
By toddler age, your child is undoubtedly deeply fascinated by your every move. Fostering an interest in cooking and food preparation from this early on can positively impact their life in a number of ways! Measuring out ingredients and following the steps of a recipe requires children to practise basic arithmetic and strengthens their reading and comprehension abilities. Reading through a recipe with your child may also introduce them to new words and is a fun and different way to grow their reading confidence! Aside from the educational benefits, learning their way around a kitchen is a great way for your child to gain a sense of accomplishment. When it’s time to sit down and eat, they can proudly point to whatever they helped create!
Before getting started in the kitchen with your new sous-chef determine which tasks are age-appropriate. Start with more simple “jobs”, such as stirring, pouring and adding ingredients when you say to. Be patient when spills or mishaps occur (as they inevitably will) – your child is hard at work mastering a new skill!
Although it may seem premature to think about now, each day your children get one step closer to adulthood and you’ll want to think you did all you could to prepare them for the challenges ahead! Life is made infinitely easier when you can effectively manage your time.
Children as young as pre-school age can begin to be taught time management skills. Expecting them to finish small tasks in a specified block of time, such as picking up their toys or packing their school-bag, is a great way to ease them into personal accountability. As your child gets older you can help them prioritise their days – making time for school-work, activities, and chores. Though they may not immediately see the long-term benefits of time-management practices, they will appreciate that staying organized and on task means more free-time for playing!
When talking to your children about ‘stranger danger’ it is necessary to strike a balance between keeping them safe and avoiding unnecessarily frightening them. Depending on the age of your child, their level of independence can vary. It is unlikely a toddler will ever be out of your sight, unless under the supervision of another trusted adult. However, you can discuss general safety at this age. Make sure they know not to stray in public and if they do get separated, how to identify authority figures and trustworthy adults who can help them.
As your child gets older and their freedom grows, it is more likely they will be left unsupervised in public. Discuss with them what to do if they are approached by a stranger or made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe in any way. The ‘no, go, yell’ method provides straightforward instruction for children on what to do when faced with a potentially dangerous situation. Go through each step with your child and invite them to ask any questions they may have.
In the event of a playground accident, chances are your child will be the first on the scene. It’s important to make sure they understand what constitutes an emergency and what to do when once occurs.
Discuss hypothetical scenarios in which your child needs to recognise appropriate emergency protocol and walk them through what steps should be taken. By primary school age, your child should know what to do in the event of an asthma attack and how to deal with allergic reactions, a nose bleed and somebody chocking – even if it’s simply to run and tell the nearest adult. If your child owns a cell phone, teach them how to contact the emergency services and stress the importance of only calling in a genuine emergency. If you have a landline, show them how to dial 911 from home.
Stingray Swim Club is a competitive swimming club for ages 6 and up.
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