There’s so much more to learning than what can be found within the pages of textbooks. Math, science and language arts are all important but what’s even more important is life. Learning “life” in school is essential to forming a child’s character into a well-rounded, self-sufficient adult. These real life lessons can make all the difference in achieving a fulfilling and successful life.
How many times have you seen someone throw away a perfectly good item that just needed a little TLC? It happens all too often. But, by teaching our children how to fix things, we can help them become environmentally conscious, save money and earn a sense of pride in their work.
Life essentials like changing a tire, changing a lightbulb and troubleshooting electronics are just a few examples of the way we can teach children to be fixers. With the ability to purchase anything and have it delivered from anywhere in the world, we are often quick to discard items for a new and improved version. We can reduce waste and help children understand that sometimes broken things just need a bit of attention to be as good as new. This will translate into the ability to fix a broken sink in the middle of the night or prevent being stranded on a desolate roadside.
Let’s go beyond balancing a checkbook or opening a savings account. What about living on a budget? Applying for a mortgage? Investing in the stock market? The truth is, there’s so much more to having financial stability than having a well-balanced checkbook.
Teaching our children not only how to make money, but also how to make their money work for them is the key to a solid foundation. We can help them understand things like interest rates, compounding interest and types of mortgages. By equipping them with the knowledge of how finances truly influence our everyday lives, we can help ensure they don’t get taken advantage of later in life.
Sure, there’s home economics class and health class but what if we took those one step further? Teaching children about proper nutrition and what different proteins, chemicals and vitamins do to our bodies is the basis for a healthy life. Additionally, making sure children learn food safety, cooking basics and money saving shopping tips will prepare them for life on their own.
Learning how to adapt and overcome is a crucial part of life. We can’t always expect everything to go as planned, nor can we expect there to always be someone there to catch us when we fall.
It can be a complex process to learn how to remain calm in stressful situations. Much if it comes with maturity but learning how to strategize is also critical. By instilling problem solving and critical thinking, we can help our children navigate any curveball that life throws at them. Coping mechanisms and the importance of planning (and back up planning) can be applied to all aspects of life.
We live in a society where there is more information thrown at us than we could ever handle. Relationships are often started or maintained through electronic communication. Social media only shows us the highlights of everyone’s lives. We’ve become accustomed to believe that it’s unacceptable to be anything less than picture perfect. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that we are all humans experiencing the same challenges.
We can teach our kids that it’s okay to be wrong, it’s okay to fail and it’s okay to have bad days. The important lesson is that we can always turn these things back around and try again. Teaching our children how to effectively communicate their wants and needs will translate to healthier relationships with peers, co-workers and partners. Even the basics like “please,” “thank you” and the courtesy of RSVPing to events are important social skills to learn.
Stressing the importance of self-care as well as the importance of being kind to others can help improve mental health and create healthier environments at work, school and home.
Many of life’s most valuable lessons come from experience. As adults, it is our job to impart our knowledge onto the children around us. Not every aspect of life can be taught in a classroom but we can absolutely teach the foundations for a happy, healthy and successful one.