I used to teach second graders and I can tell you from personal experience, there are too many practical skills 7-8 year olds should be able to do that they can’t yet. And as a then-9-month pregnant teacher of 28 kids all asking me to bend over and tie their shoes for them, I realized these types of skills should be taught early! The earlier we begin teaching our kids the small skills we take for granted as adults, the sooner they begin practicing and the better they can master them!
So this got me thinking: what are the practical life skills I take for granted that I need to start teaching my young kids right now? Here’s what I came up with:
Tying shoe laces:
No surprise this is my first one. Bunny ears or whatever way you think your kid will learn best, start practicing now! They won’t get it right away but the earlier they start practicing, the better.
Caring for plants:
Planting, watering, and maintaining a living thing is a great thing for young kids to get started practicing. They can care for a living thing and next step could be a pet!
Chores around the house:
Helping you with the dishes (learning to be gentle!), feeding the dog, cleaning up your messes as you make them, and other household chores will set the expectation that they will help around the house, and will teach them important skills!
Being gentle with animals:
This should be taught from day one, in my opinion! Even if your kid ends up not liking animals, they can still learn how to respect them.
Your young child can help wash the bottom of the window while you wash the top. Involve them and they will learn to look at the details, meaning wiping those streaks!
Closing doors and windows gently:
This is just good practice. No one likes slammed doors and squished fingers!
Using a funnel:
Wide opening at the top, small opening at the bottom. It’ll still be a mess, probably, but it’s a great skill in hand eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Get them started early on learning to cook. And the act of measuring out correct portions will help their development, too!
What other skills should kids start practicing early? Trust me, their future elementary teachers will thank you!