“I know that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, but I still don’t know how to do taxes,” read a popular meme that used to do the rounds on the internet. Most people who’ve been through the regular education system know that there are many essential life skills that schools often don’t teach young people.
Now with the COVID-19 pandemic, most children around the world have been at home with their families for the past few months, away from school. How are parents preparing them for the future? We reached out to some parents to weigh in on what essential life skills they are focusing on teaching their young ones.
Nusreen Moideen, chartered accountant, managing partner and mom to a 5-year-old and an 8-month-old, Oman
Moideen teaches her daughter navigation skills by encouraging her to read the GPS as they travel. Photo courtesy: Nusreen Moideen
I’ve been trying to make [my daughter] more independent by generating situations where she has to do certain things or make decisions on her own, giving everyday little problems that she has to find solutions for.
When we go for drives, I encourage my daughter to read the GPS and understand where to go next, so that she can get a sense of direction and improve her navigational skills.
Garima Sharma, director and mom to two boys aged 1 and 3, India
Sharma has been an advocate for breaking gender norms while raising her two sons. Photo courtesy: Garima Sharma
I am teaching my kids gratitude. [Be grateful] that you have at least one toy when there are other kids who don’t. We’re also breaking stereotypes — being the mother of two sons, I am raising them to know that none of the work in this world is typecast. Being a boy, you can cook, decorate your home, do household chores and you can cry also.
I am teaching them that if you want respect then you have to learn to give respect to others also. From siblings to others like the house help, building security, you have to greet everybody.
My elder son is really learning well, he has already gotten it into his mind that being a member of the home it is his duty to do things himself such as making his bed, cleaning his room, and putting utensils in the sink.
John Adams, stay-at-home dad to two daughters aged 8 and 11, U.K.
Adams took the public transit with his eldest daughter Helen (left) to help her understand how to travel. Photo courtesy: John Adams
“We also felt it was the right time to get them a bank card, thus, both of them have had valuable lessons in managing money.”
During lockdown, I’ve been teaching my eldest daughter, Helen, how to use a washing machine. She is also about to start secondary school which means she will be traveling independently to her school which is a short distance away. This requires all sorts of skills like being able to read a timetable and a map, understanding how to pay for the journey and so on.
While school has been closed, Helen and I have undertaken a number of rail and bus journeys together and she has done some on her own. I am glad I took the time to do this as it has given her valuable experience.
We also felt it was the right time to get them a bank card, thus, both of them have had valuable lessons in managing money. It’s been interesting to see how they have been thinking a lot more critically when it comes to spending money.
Pallavi Gandhi, banker and mom to a 6-year-old girl, India
As a banker, Gandhi is prioritizing teaching her daughter Krisha the importance of saving. Photo courtesy: Pallavi Gandhi
We’re also teaching the basics of savings. This habit helps in inculcating the value of money and also teaches the child to know what is right for them. Next, we are on the way to teach her to fold clothes and tidy her bed when she wakes up.