Parents today try to choose the easier way out. A child is troubling to eat, give him a phone and finish the job. You are busy with your work and your child is troubling, give him a phone or tab to make him quiet. Our children belong to a generation that can see, hear, think and interpret only one language – Technology. Our generation of parents is equally amazed and engrossed in gadgets and don’t want to deprive children from being technology geeks. This means exposing them to screens as soon as children are grown enough to sit up and hold a phone or remote. After all gadgets and technology are the new age epidemic that is beyond control. We have read and written enough about the pros and cons of exposing these gadgets to our children. While children are competitive and experts in using these gadgets, they are big time lacking basic life skills that these gadgets will not give them in life. Here are a few basic life skills that children must learn in their growing age that can help them grow into better human beings versus being just technology smart.
1.Help yourself: Children as old as 5 or 6 years onward should be instilled with a habit and responsibility of doing their basic chores on their own. They should be able to do things like packing their bags, getting their uniforms in place, clearing their plates after meals, polishing their shoes, arranging their toys after play, folding their blankets, cleaning up their study tables, drinking water on their own when thirsty and so on. We often see Parents pampering kids by serving them everything on a silver plate. Doing everyday chores on their own makes them responsible for their work and gets them into a disciplined routine while making them independent.
2.Helping Others: When we see our parents struggling to do something, we instantly offer them a helping hand. Unfortunately the current young generation is so engrossed in screens that they are not aware of their surroundings. It is important to instill the value of helping others in children. Children should be given tasks like setting up table for meals, cleaning up table after meals, helping parents to do some household chores like folding clothes, arranging clothes, a helping hand in kitchen, putting laundry, buying small groceries or vegetables from the market and so on. Children should be introduced to such everyday jobs as early as at 5 years. We can reward them once in a while to motivate them. Parents can pitch in with support wherever required. Teaching children to help others makes them alert of their surroundings, helps them emotionally connect with their family and inculcates the skill and need of team work.
3.Value what we possess: We prefer to please our children by giving in their demands than making them understand the need.We prefer giving the child what he wants than handling his tantrums. We often prefer to say a YES than a NO fearing the resulting momentary consequence that your child would give you. We also try to bribe them like with a screen time. Don’t we? It is important that as a parent we don’t give into their demands easily. Their demands should be a reward for a task or goal that they do or achieve. Of course they deserve being pampered sometimes, but this should be an occasional thing. When children get their wishes fulfilled as a reward, they know how to value it. It is important to instill the concept of “there is nothing called a free lunch” as early in their life as we can.
4.Facing challenges: I often come across parents who are more competitive and ambitious for their child than the child himself. This means everything has to be perfect and there is no scope for errors. Such children grow up with either too much of superiority complex or with a very low self- esteem and lack the potential to accept or face failures and rejections. As parents it is important to let children make mistakes and fail sometimes. It only helps them understand where they need to improve to do better. It makes them tough, smart, analytical, socially alert and help them get through any situation or challenge that life throws at them.
5.Basic Courtesy: Gone are the days when children acknowledged the presence of an elder like teacher or neighbor with a greeting. Very few children these days have the courtesy to greet their teachers or elders around them. Aren’t we more into greeting people through emojis on Whatsapp these days? It is important to instill the value of being courteous with people around by way of helping, greeting and acknowledging their presence verbally. It helps children develop good social skills and instills values like respect and courtesy.
Generation next will slowly stop using their verbal skills and get addicted to texting skills. Before the world around us becomes mute, let us give ourselves and our kids some break once in a while from screens and gadgets and help them develop some basic life skills. We need to encourage verbal communication, sense of responsibility and the need of discipline in children at a very young age. These are some basic attributes that will help children to grow into smart, adaptable, socially and ethically responsible human beings.
Note: This article is completely my individual perspective as a parent. Do share your perspectives and feedback on this article. Would love to hear from other parents.