Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Teaching Life Skills to Kids During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Most of us are under a self imposed quarantine right now and while very inconvenient, it's a good thing overall. Schools are closed, people are working remotely from home and all manner of variations in between. When schools shut down most parents thought they'd immediately become home school teachers.
While continuing our kids' education during this time is important let's not forget the valuable time we have to teach them some very important life skills.
Here are 10 life skills we can pass on to our kids during this time of social distancing:
1) Basic Navigation - Just because we can't go to the dining room of our local fast food restaurant doesn't mean we have to stay shut up indoors all day. Get out and explore your neighborhood if you are able.
Go for a walk as a household and take a compass along. If you don't have one, use the one on your phone. Then demonstrate the 4 cardinal directions. As they get better, introduce the inter-cardinal directions and let them tell you what direction you need to go to get home.
2) Calories - It seems in time of disorder a lot of us feel better by eating. (No judgement.) Take this time to explain what calories are and how they effect our health. Find two food items with the standard nutritional information printed on the packaging and compare them.
Then explain why exercise is so important to burn those calories. While calories are good for us as they give energy to burn, too much can make us overweight. I may speak from experience.
3) Time management - Wow, the days have gotten long haven't they? This is the perfect time to teach time management skills. Set up a daily schedule (but be flexible) and give your kids free time during the day. Have them plan out what they want to do in their free time to see if they have enough to do what they want. If not, what are the willing to cut to make it fit?
4) Fire Drill - This social distancing gives us a great opportunity to update our family plans and procedures. Hold a family meeting to discuss your fire escape plan. Walk each child through what to do based on their age and abilities.
Then put people all over the house, yell "fire" and have everyone leave the house. Physically walking through the plan you've made will help predict pitfalls and give your family valuable experience.
5) It’s Okay to be Alone - Do you have a child, or multiple children, who don't want to leave your side? It's important during this time of isolation to enforce that being alone isn't a bad thing. There are many things we do alone like bathing, reading and watching TV that are all positive things. We want our kids to be independent and that starts with an appreciation of being alone.
6) Knots - If your kids don't know how to tie their shoes, then now is a great time to show them. Even if they only have Velcro shoes, grab a pair of yours and demonstrate how to make a simple knot. If shoe tying is beneath them, go online and find some useful knots you can make on a rope or an old pair of shoelaces.
7) Home Repair - Take your kids along on any fix it jobs you've been putting off around the house. Show your kids how you approach each issue and why you use the tools you've got. Help them to see the whole problem so they can understand how your experience and the tools provide the solution.
Let them use the hammer, screwdrivers and maybe even the drill. Of course they'll be under strict supervision on how to use the tools properly. If they like it, set up an old piece of scrap wood and let them drive nails, measure and saw on it to help them practice.
8) Make Lunch - My son only knows how to make one thing on his own, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I think most kids start off that way. So one day during your free time off from school, have the kids make lunch.
Let them serve whatever they can make with limited supervision. Let them feel first hand the stress of making a meal and the joy of accomplishment when it's done. Maybe this will lead to some better help in the kitchen.
9) Observations - Again, if you're able to go out and walk your neighborhood start to ask your children questions about what they see. Ask them what has changed from day to day. Have toys appeared on the neighbor's lawn? Was that red car parked in that driveway yesterday? Are there more or less people driving today? Work with them to see the world around them as it effects them.
10) How to Call 911 - Let's hope your kids don't have to call 911, but in an emergency do they know what to say? Can they recite their home address, name and phone number? Can they tell someone about the trouble their having? Can they dial the number?
Once you know your kids can recite their vital information I suggest you practice with them. Give them a real emergency like daddy fell of a ladder and isn't awake. You pretend to be the 911 operator and you get them to think and reason to share the information they need to to get help.
There are scores of other skills to teach our kids. These are just a few to get you started. I hope that you can find fun and value the family time together. If you're looking for ways to live a safer, happier life then sign up to get reliable family protection sent to your inbox with The Secure Dad Field Notes.