On a recent visit to a preschool waiting to meet the principal, I overheard a conversation between moms who had gathered to pick up their respective ward’s after school.
“My 6 yr. can use WhatsApp and send messages on his own”, said mom A to mom B
And knowing how women are, mom B boasted,” My 7-yr. old can surf the internet all by himself “
Mom C could not contain the excitement and added “My 5-yr. old knows how to watch videos on you tube “and she attends spoken English coaching after school.
Finally, Mom D got a chance to speak and spurted “My 8-yr. old goes for maths classes and robotics guidance on weekends “
You know how women are, curious, and thus mom E noticed me there invited me in the conversation. So now it was my turn to speak. I introduced myself as a mom to two kids aged 7 and 10 and apologised to them for having heard their conversation. Further I requested permission to ask them a few questions. To which they all agreed.
- Can your 7-yr. old tie his/her own shoe laces and fold clothes?
- Can your 8-yr. old make his own sandwich?
- Does your 6-year-old know about personal hygiene?
- How often do your children help in household chores?
To my surprise none of the moms gave me a nod. Instead they said that their tots were too young for these tasks. But, “Are they old enough to use these gadgets?” Before I could hear them further, I was called to meet the principal after which I left. I don’t know if my question left any mark on them, but their answers surely did give me some food for thought.
I today, I turn my laptop on to pen down 15 life lessons I would like to teach my children before they turn 10.
- Basic cooking: Not that I want them to prepare a full-fledged meal, but some fire less snacks can easily be done by kids under 10. A basic sandwich, chips and dips. They should be able to peel and clean fruits on their own. Not that you should not do these for you kids, but come on, let’s be practical, what if you are not around that day? They should be able to satiate themselves until there is no help around. The basic intent is that they should not go hungry. My 10-yr. old has learned to prepare Maggie on his own while my 7-yr. old can make nutella breads. Cooking is an art which fosters all round development in kids. Please read my post on cooking to know more.
- Personal hygiene: By the time kids attain the double-digit age they should be able to clean themselves properly without help. Shampoo and brush their teeth, comb and tie hair, dress up on the own and visit the loo without assistance. Cover the mouth while sneezing and tie up shoe laces. This not only makes them responsible but also independent.
- Gardening: Why Gardening? because it encourages loving kindness in children. Apart from introducing various concepts like measurement in maths and soil in geography, gardening fosters all round development in children. It connects them with nature and hence themselves. Please read my post on gardening to know why I propagate this.
- Simple calculations: I know this can be boring, but when taught in a fun and interactive manner child love it. Letting my child check the bill at the supermarket or calculate the total at a restaurant or guess the bill value gives my children added confidence. When they help me tag my bespoke jewellery pieces, they understand cost and sale price and thus profits. This exercise helps them to decide upon their purchases prudently and encourages them to save some money too.
- Household chores: Some parents might disagree with me on this but including children in household chores is a blessing in disguise. They not only understand the value of work but also learn not to discriminate work between sexes. Gives quality time with kids and gets work done effectively. Please find an exclusive post on this here.
- Practice gratitude and honesty: Sleeping with gratitude and waking up with a beautiful heart is the best gift to each child. When I make my children think of three things that make them happy each day, I see them smile each day before sleeping. They sleep peacefully with happiness in the heart.
- Play a sport: It’s very important that the children play outdoor sports. This not only helps in muscle and bone strengthening but also helps them to combat growing pains. Playing a sport releases their stress and releases happy hormones in them. They learn how to handle competition and accept defeat with grace.
- Discernment: When kids learn to use discernment from a tender age they become better decision makers and leaders. Discernment improves their reasoning abilities making them better negotiators too. This insures that they do not follow anything blindly without logic.
- Navigation contact numbers and other emergency information: Children should be made aware of the safe circle and learn how to navigate on their own as well. They should be made to memorise important phone numbers; home address and parents contact numbers. They should be social enough with neighbours and other locality members to be able to raise an alarm or call when needed. They need not be Kevin of the “Home Alone” fame, but smart enough to handle situations.
- Basic first aid: When my son cleaned his wound and dressed it with basic first aid at the age of 9 I felt less guilty of not being present with him at that time. It was then I decided that I will give the same basic training to my daughter who was 7 then to be able to take care of herself in case of minor hurts. This makes them strong and dependable.
- Pick and choose to eat healthy: Let your children give you company to super market often. This way they learn to pick and choose between junk and health foods and they become better eaters. Let them read labels and understand what goes in their mouths. This fosters healthy eating habits in them from a young age itself.
- Be curious: Being curious is the key to knowledge. If the child is not curious he or she can never learn. Ignite the spark of curiosity in them, indulge them into reading books and find value in their reads. “When you are green you learn and when you turn red you rot”
13. Be nice, not perfect: Some kids are smarter, cooler and have better clothes than your child. It does not matter. Your kids have their thing too. Make them into children who get along, who are generous, happy and who do the right thing at the right time. They need not be perfect all they need to be is nice. I swear by this and trust me this makes them into happier human beings.
- Learn local language: Learning a local language multiplies confidence. They understand the culture and the traditions in the place they live and helps them make friends. It makes them more social.
- Be creative: Creativity and creative living provides backbone to their thoughts and imaginations. They understand expressions and learn to express in an effective and fun manner. Introducing them to arts or any form of creative hobby gives wings to their imagination and add colours to their thoughts.
The best thing about this curated list is that you need not send your child to classes or spend a bomb on tutions for them to master these. All they need is some time and effort from your side and viola your child will be ready to step into tween easily. Do check how to talk with your tween so that they open up for a better understanding on this.
I can safely tick 14 of these, still am struggling with mastering the local language. How many can you?
Happiness and sunshine