Have you ever wondered how kids as young as 8-years old compete confidently on cooking shows or even Child Genius? It takes more than teaching them about electrolysis or using a whisk and sieve. We have learnt that consistency is the bedrock for self-discipline and confidence. Kids have a very short attention span and get distracted easily. So when we introduce them to something new or when we want to instill a habit in them, we are likely to find ourselves repeating and correcting multiple times before it sticks! So the kid that has made it to the final round of the baking show has experienced many mini versions of the “final” round at home with a parent or guardian.
Kids who have proper self-discipline cope better with emotions. They tend to respond to our corrections with respect and take responsibility for their behavior.
Did you know that kids' brains are more receptive and flexible (Yeah, we wish for that, too) at a young age? This is why it is extremely vital to teach our kids life skills at a young age while making it fun! Here are a few tips we’ve learnt from other parents.
1- Gamify some activities with our kids
- Teach them Patience and Follow-Up: Plant a seed together!
Looking for a spot to plant a seed, asking our kid to dig a hole and let them know it is their responsibility to water the plant frequently. We all know we are in the age of immediate results (ever hear your child say - i want it right now?”) We hear it all the time. The fun activity teaches responsibility, patience, problem-solving skills and follow-up. They’ll end up updating you on a daily basis, and sometime multiple times a day of how well they are carrying out their responsibility. The best part is when they actually see results, nothing beats the sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and pure joy they have!
- Teach them some math and financial literacy: Have fun at the grocery store.
Yes, I mean it. Most parents consider grocery shopping with kids as a 'mission' they need to 'survive.' (lol) Well, it's fun when we decide to make it fun. An amusing yet valuable game is to give the kid a certain amount of money, assign them the responsibility to purchase a certain item and let them pay for it. Generally, when kids grow up seeing us purchase things and handle money. They will have a good foundation of experience on which to build their knowledge about money.
- Teach them to be compassionate & caring: Wrap gifts together.
Looking for gifts with our children teaches them kindness. Involving them in the process of finding the perfect present, removing the price tag, and wrapping the gift drives a sense of appreciation. When that gift is for someone other than them, we instill in their little hearts the gift of selflessness and the importance of giving other people joy.
2- Teach them Independence: Solve problems with them, not for them.
My friend's toddler, Anthony, once asked her to fix his toy for him. Sara, his mother, replied with "Did you try fixing it yourself first? How about we try together?" -- If this is not inspiring, I don't know what is. Teaching our kids to do things rather than doing it for them makes them understand that they are capable of finding solutions, and we are there for help or feedback.
3- Teach them to strive for excellence, not perfection: Be realistic role models for them to emulate.
We have a powerful influence on our kids; what we say and do guide our kids' attitude and behavior in the long term. Our children observe and examine most of our reactions (especially, frustration). Does that mean we have to be perfect? Simply, nobody is. Reacting to our problems with responsibility and having respect for others and ourselves teaches our kids to do so. Be mindful with your words and actions and your child will follow your lead.
4- Teach them self-control: Candy challenge is more than a Tik Tok trend.
I am pretty sure you came across one of these adorable videos where a parent leaves their toddlers with a bowl of irresistible candy and tells them not to eat any till they get back (Then we get to enjoy the kid's reactions).This challenge is a fun way to teach our kids self-control. We get to test their patience and honesty, as well, so we understand them as much as possible.
In the end, we should keep in mind that we prepare our child for the path, not the path for our child.