Teaching proper life skills is important to raising your children into healthy, happy adults. It’s important to instill values of health and self confidence in your children, and to teach proper self control and coping skills. This is especially true for children with learning disabilities and attention issues, although it applies to all children to some degree. This article contains some evidence-based techniques for teaching your children valuable life skills that will help them make the right choices as they grow into well-adjusted adults.
First, start by teaching your child to make healthy food choices. Show them healthy eating habits. Bring your child along with you during trips to the grocery store. Ask your child which healthy fruits and vegetables are his or her favorite. You can even begin teaching children as young as ages 5 to 10 years how to make simple-yet-healthy meals, with adult supervision of course.
Instilling your child with a sense of self love and body positivity will also help boost self confidence and hopefully reduce the chances of your child engaging in overeating, eating disorders, or living with obesity.
Make sure your child is getting plenty of exercise. If your child attends daycare, make sure they get plenty of outside and/or exercise time. You can also ensure your children are getting plenty of exercise at home. Here are a few fun ways to workout as a family. Don’t let your child become too sedentary during the summer. Enrolling them in a summer camp (some are free or low cost!) can be a great way to make sure they’re up and moving regularly and it will be a blast for them.
Self control is a crucial skill that will help your child avoid temptations in life that could lead him or her astray. It’s also been scientifically proven that individuals with higher levels of self control experience lower rates of anxiety, depression, behavioral issues and drug addiction. On the other hand, those who struggle with self control issues are more likely to develop smoking habits, have financial issues, engage in criminal behavior, and suffer from obesity.
But how does a parent go about teaching self control to a child? According to parenting expert Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., some of our self control skills are genetic – but that doesn’t mean we can’t play a positive role with good parenting. Dewar suggests developing games you can play with your children to teach them crucial skills like self control.
A fun place to start is with the famous “marshmallow test.” Offer your child one marshmallow (or other favorite toy or treat) right now, but tell your child that if he or she declines the marshmallow and waits until a little later, you’ll reward him or her with not one but two marshmallows. Think your child is too young for this type of test? Think again: recent studies have shown that even children as young as two years old are capable of weighing the risks versus benefits of a potential reward.
Like self control, coping skills are also incredibly important to your child’s health. They allow your child to flourish in his or her environment by making sense of the world and dealing with stressful situations in positive ways. This can lead to your child making better physical, mental and emotional health choices, being more successful in his or her future career, and having healthier interpersonal relationships as well.
Above all else, try to teach your children that it is important to choose happiness and gratitude. We cannot always control what happens to us in life, but we always have the power to choose our thoughts. With the right attitude and a positive outlook, your child will be in a good place to overcome anything he or she faces during childhood or adulthood.
Laura Pearson believes that every student has great potential and aims to help as many as possible unlock it. Ms. Pearson and Edutude strive to find unique, creative ways for parents and educators to encourage students to be challenged, motivated and excited by learning.