Known for his work on child development, Jean Piaget influenced educators and researchers to change how children are taught at home and in schools. And he couldn’t be more than right. If children are empty vessels, we could just simply fill these vessels with anything we want. But that is not what happens. While many are accepted, some of these “fillings" aren’t learned, and worse, get rejected outrightly. Why? Because children are not robots to be bombarded with knowledge or skills to be possessed that we think they want or need. Parents and adults are, the term I call, “exposers" -those who expose children to different opportunities in life. If we want our children to become fond of reading books, it is only reasonable to give them access to books, take them to book fairs, and read their books any time of day or night, among others.
Since skills are more learned than innate, we can only guide them to learn these skills.
So what are these essential skills that children should learn at a young age?
1. Learn to play a musical instrument.
While listening to music engages the brain in interesting activities, playing music is the brain’s equivalent of a full-body workout. Scientific studies show that when playing a musical instrument, multiple areas of the brain light up like fireworks, processing different information all at the same time. But what is in music that sets the brain alight? Neuroscientists have ideas. Playing a musical instrument engages all areas of the brain especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. And constant practice strengthens those brain functions.
Musical instruments like the guitar, keyboards/piano, violin, flute, etc. are excellent instruments to begin learning with.
2. Learn basic self-defense
Technology-wise, human society has advanced so much in the last decade that it feels safer to be out there mingling with the rest of the world. However, evil still lurks, prying on the vulnerable. Both boys and girls can be preyed upon. Although there are many ways to stay safe while in public (staying with the crowd, avoiding isolated places, etc.), the public itself has turned so individualistic, immersed in their own world with headphones on their ears that a scream may simply be heard as a faint whisper in their ears.
In other words, learning a few self-defense moves will be of great help for children to learn at a young age. What’s better than learning them yourself and taking your children to a karate class with you?
3. Learn cooking.
We often claim we are independent. The truth is, we are absolutely not. Our lives are made comfortable and convenient by various people, some of whom we know nothing about. However, learning to cook is one skill that children should learn for whatever purpose it may serve them in the future. Even though there are people we can hire to do the work for us and there are establishments that can provide delivery service, knowing how our food is prepared remains a foremost concern considering that many food-borne illnesses are due to a lack of cleanliness when preparing the food. In some hotels, even in our households, cooks don’t wash the ingredients well.
Also, cooking various types of dishes exposes your children to different world cuisine. While having fun, they learn about other nations’ cultures and traditions at the same time.
Introduce the World of Culinary Arts to your sons and daughters as early as possible with these kitchen toy sets available at Snooplay.
4. Learn a foreign language.
Whether it’s English, French, Spanish, Hindi or Arabic, learning one or more languages is only advantageous for children. There is no downside to it. Language is best learned when children are younger because their brain has not been cluttered with unnecessary information and details that would have prevented them from learning the new skill with ease. And in our modern world, there are mobile Apps such as Duolingo that are children-friendly.
Sit with them for half to one hour a day and help them jot down the words they learn. Make it a habit. Else, enroll your child in a language class.
5. Learn first-aid.
Parents, you can’t expect to be around your children 24 hours a day and neither you can’t expect anyone to be with your children all the time. And no matter how much you remind them to be very careful, there will be times when inevitable circumstances arise. A small scratch, cut or abrasion while playing or a bite from an insect is inescapable. So why not empower them with such a skill that enables them to handle such an emergency situation? After all, children would love knowing that they can manage some tough times in their life on their own. They’d be proud of themselves, and they’d certainly be excited to share the event with you later.
Show them a first aid kit. Explain to them its contents and to what purpose they are for. They’d appreciate the early lesson.
Check out Doctor Medical Kit Suitcase and other Pretend Play Toys to get the introduction started.Developing basic life skills is crucial if we want our children to be as independent as our society allows them to be. Exposing them to different kinds of skills learning is a responsibility that every adult should take seriously. What kind of adults our children turn out to largely depend on our roles in their life. Let us make sure that they grow up to be individuals who know how the world works and are equipped with the necessary tools to face its trials and struggles. When this happens, children get equipped with important skills for life.