In today’s world, have you ever wondered what is the first thing a baby sees as soon as he or she is out of mother’s womb? Did you say- “the doctor”?Oops you got that wrong.The baby will see a smartphone capturing his or her entry into this digital world.In the course of his childhood, he will see many more such digital distractions. I call these distractions “Screens - The Devils”. As soon as your baby is able to sit up and balance himself, there is a high probability of you giving him that phone to keep him entertained and in the due course he will get addicted to these screens.
Thanks to the digital era, our kids are more glued to screens and less aware of the real world. Sadly they lack simple life skills and are bound to struggle with survival issues later in life.
What are life skills?
These are basic skills that are necessary or desirable in everyday life. These are simple skills like helping others, folding clothes, tying laces, cleaning dishes and so on and so forth. The digital clock is taking over the mental health of our children resulting in deficient social skills and physical activity.
Do you know, you can instill these life skills in children as early as in toddlerhood?
Let us look at some of the ways in which we can educate our children with life skills from an early age so that they are better placed in future.
1. Be Self Sufficient:
Children as young as preschoolers can be trained to take care of their chores on a daily basis with adult supervision and guidance. They can be trained to do their basic chores like packing their bags, getting their clothes out for school, keeping their dishes in kitchen after meals, cleaning up their toys after play time and so on and so forth.Children at this age are very active and involving them in daily chores not only channelises their energy but also helps them develop their essential life skills.
2. Be Helpful around:
Encourage children from a very young age to help others. Toddlers can help their peers or adults in the house with simple chores like arranging table for meals, keeping the shoes away in racks, helping parents with folding clothes etc. This will give multiple opportunities to keep them engaged while keeping their screen time at bay. Helping others will also develop their emotional skills along with gross motor skills.
3. Value your possession
Parents are very fast to give in to their tot’s demands. It is essential to instill the value of need versus want from a very young age. Children from the age of 18 months have high capacity to absorb what they see and are exposed to. When we make our children understand the difference between need and want, they will learn to value what they possess.
4. Basic Manners:
Children from a very young age can be taught basic courtesy. Manners like greeting friends and elders or guests who come home, simple table manners, washroom manners, sharing, caring and so on and so forth. Unfortunately a lot of parents neglect these simple skills when children are young and find it challenging to tackle missing socio-emotional skills and etiquettes when they grow up. Etiquettes are important life skill and the world of digital technology is limiting this to text messages.
5. Reward on Deeds
Children should not be rewarded without deeds. It is important to instill in children that rewards are given only when there is a deserving reason. This life skill will always keep them motivated in life to do better. A child as young as 18 months old can understand that he will get an applause only if he finishes his food and an unhappy face if he drops the food.
As parents it is our primary responsibility to inculcate all possible skills and values in our children from a very young age so that they become independent, strong and ethical human beings as adults. The trick is to start this as early as possible.
“Teach me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will learn” - Benjamin Franklin