Par­ent­ing – Raise skilled kids

From han­dling emo­tions to pub­lic speak­ing, these skills will def­i­nitely go a long way to­wards help­ing your chil­dren lead hap­pier lives.

True Love - - News - By DAN ROBERTS

From the mo­ment they’re born, chil­dren are like sponges, soak­ing up knowl­edge in ev­ery wak­ing mo­ment. And as they grow, they con­tinue to learn from books, friends and fam­ily, school, and dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments around them. But their most im­por­tant teach­ers are mom and dad – you. Not only are you the most sig­nif­i­cant peo­ple in their life, but you’ll be with them from the mo­ment they first draw breath, en­cour­ag­ing and sup­port­ing them ev­ery step of the way. Par­ents have a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity they have to raise well-rounded peo­ple. To help you make the most of this priv­i­leged po­si­tion, here are es­sen­tial skills you can teach your son or daugh­ter, each of which will make a fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence to their life.


In these debt-rid­den times, help­ing your chil­dren look af­ter their fi­nances is very im­por­tant. A good place to start is with their pocket money.

“En­cour­age them to save 25% of their pocket money,” says fi­nan­cial ex­pert Adrian Kidd. “They’ll de­velop the sav­ings habit early on and will be de­lighted to see their money earn­ing reg­u­lar in­ter­est.

“Most im­por­tantly, teach them to ask them­selves whether they re­ally need that new toy or game. If you help your chil­dren dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween what they want and what they ac­tu­ally need, you’ll take the pres­sure off them when they’re older, so they won’t buy things they can’t af­ford.”


Teach them the ba­sics from an early age, and they’ll grow up cook­ing for them­selves – and you, if you’re lucky. Ask them to weigh and mea­sure in­gre­di­ents for you, and teach them to chop soft foods like ba­nana and av­o­cado with a blunt knife. Teach them the dif­fer­ence be­tween foods that are un­der­cooked, burnt and ready to eat. Show them how to sea­son food, mix a sauce and make gravy. Teach them to smell, taste and test food as they pre­pare it. Make piz­zas with them. Buy ready­made bases and let­ting them ex­per­i­ment with top­pings.


Al­though it won’t take long for them to be more techno-savvy than you, in these high-tech days it’s a good idea to get them started from a young age. Try the fol­low­ing: Help them han­dle a mouse by teach­ing them what it’s for and how to use it. Sit with them as they learn. Put a coloured sticker on the left but­ton to help dif­fer­en­ti­ate it from the right. If your child is learn­ing to spell, let them prac­tise with a word­pro­cess­ing pro­gramme. Turn off the mon­i­tor and get the child to spell their name. This is a great way to prac­tise touch-typ­ing. Teach your child how to trou­ble shoot. Show them how to shut down and res­tart, use com­mands like Con­trol + Alt + Delete.


Dis­agree­ments and ar­gu­ments are part of ev­ery­day life. The best way for your kids to learn how to man­age these is by your ex­am­ple. “Chil­dren watch what their par­ents do,” says Suzie Hay­man from the UK-based fam­ily sup­port group, Par­ent­line Plus. “If you shout and scream, that’s what your kids will do. So you need to be able to talk, ne­go­ti­ate, lis­ten and ex­plain yourself – with other adults and your chil­dren. Then they’ll learn to man­age con­flict in the same way.”


Lately, schools help to de­velop pub­lic speak­ing skills in chil­dren from an early age, with reg­u­lar show-and-tell ses­sions at school. Here are some tips to build your child’s con­fi­dence at speak­ing in pub­lic: Get them to stand up and speak to you by recit­ing a poem or just telling you about their day. Ex­tend this so they tell other fam­ily mem­bers about a re­cent sport­ing event or school ac­tiv­ity. Get them to write down what they are go­ing to say – this helps them to plan their speech and be­come fa­mil­iar with the words. En­cour­age them to look up and speak with con­fi­dence. Tell them to prac­tise speak­ing to a mir­ror first – a tech­nique used by many great pub­lic speak­ers. If they have to speak at school, get them to fo­cus on the back wall, so the au­di­ence doesn’t seem so scary.


Pow­er­ful emo­tions like anger, jeal­ousy or fear can feel out of con­trol and over­whelm­ing for young chil­dren. Try not to tell your kids they’re naughty or bad for feel­ing an­gry or jeal­ous, say, of their sis­ter’s new toy. And let them know it’s fine to be scared of some things. “If they ’re re­ally scared of some­thing, it’s im­por­tant for you to say, ‘I can see you’re scared, but I’ll show you there’s noth­ing to be fright­ened of,’” says Hay­man. “If your tod­dler is ter­ri­fied of dogs, don’t whisk them away – it con­firms that they should be scared. In­stead, find a friendly dog and gen­tly in­tro­duce the child to it.”


One child is hurt on our roads ev­ery few min­utes. To en­sure that it doesn’t hap­pen to yours, talk to them about road safety. Al­ways cross the road at the safest place, like a foot­bridge or a ze­bra cross­ing, and ex­plain why you are cross­ing there. Teach them these three words be­fore cross­ing any road: stop, look and lis­ten. Prac­tise on quiet roads near your home, first cross­ing to­gether, then let­ting them lead you across. Never let your kid cross a road by them­selves. Let them know that an adult must al­ways hold their hand. Chil­dren aged be­tween 12 to 16 are most at risk of be­ing killed or se­ri­ously in­jured by traf­fic ac­ci­dents. Make sure they take road safety se­ri­ously and keep talk­ing to them about the dan­gers. En­sure that when­ever your child is on the road, they’re con­stantly aware of what’s hap­pen­ing around them and aren’t dis­tracted by mo­bile phones or friends.


Friend­ships are a great source of strength for chil­dren and help them de­velop the so­cial skills and con­fi­dence they’ll need for later life. Some chil­dren find mak­ing friends eas­ier than oth­ers, but if your son or daugh­ter needs a lit­tle en­cour­age­ment, there’s plenty you can do to help. Teach them so­cial skills and so­cia­ble be­hav­iour. For ex­am­ple, ex­plain how to un­der­stand ver­bal and non-ver­bal clues, like some­one smil­ing at them. They may be mis­in­ter­pret­ing these clues and miss­ing the op­por­tu­nity to make friends. Teach her ba­sic so­cial rules, like not to snatch things or hit oth­ers, and how to share and co-op­er­ate. Make your child’s friends wel­come in your home. Don’t judge their choices too harshly or make them play with chil­dren you choose. Find lo­cal ac­tiv­i­ties where your child can make friends out­side of school, like a drama group, gym­nas­tics, football or swim­ming lessons.


This may seem triv­ial, but teach­ing kids to stay clean and smell good will have a good ef­fect on their friend­ships, education, ca­reer and ro­man­tic prospects in later life, as well as avoid in­fec­tion when they’re young. Start by mak­ing bath time a fun, in­te­gral part of fam­ily life by singing songs and play­ing with toys.

Let your kids play out­side, but ex­plain why you need to clean soiled bod­ies and clothes. En­cour­age them to main­tain their own hy­giene and let them help with laun­dry and house­work. Let them choose their own de­odor­ants, sham­poo and shower gel too.

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