Helping Children Become Successful in Future: Survival Skills

We’ve been obsessing a lot about schools lately and I have been wanting to refocus for some time. As parents, we all want the best for our children, but in order to know how to help our children, we need to know the target that we’re aiming for, otherwise, chances are, we’re going to miss it. So I decided to start a series of blog posts on “Helping Children Become Successful in Future” – because ultimately, that’s what we want, isn’t it? The big picture is how our children will manage once they are on their own out there in the big wide world.

In my previous post, I wrote about why focussing on academics in school alone is not enough. In order to be successful out there, our children need more than a report card with straight A’s. So what do our children need to be successful in future? The following were a few of the thoughts that came up (and I will extrapolate further in this post and in others to come on how we are working to develop these characteristics in the boys).

John Medina, author of Brain Rules for Baby, had these additional characteristics:

  • Memory (which falls under brain power)
  • Improvisation
  • Desire to explore
  • Verbal communication
  • Decoding non-verbal communication

If you can think of others, do share your thoughts in the comments.

Survival Skills

This has got to be the basic, most fundamental set of skills that every child needs. Without them, we can forget about success in the future. Like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, if your child cannot fulfill his basic physiological and safety needs, he won’t even get to the part where he can think about being successful in life (self-actualisation).

Some time back, I wrote about the difficulties parents face in keeping their children safe. There are so many ways our children can get hurt that it is difficult for us to fight that impulse to cover our children up in bubble wrap and never let them out the house. I have been asking myself what I can do to help to protect my children and this is the answer: teach them how to protect themselves. Teach them how to stay safe. We can’t always be there to watch them so the best thing is for them to be able to look out for themselves.

Here are some of the things I’ve covered with Aristotle:

  • what to do if you are separated from Mummy and Daddy
  • what to do if you are in deep water
  • what to do if there is a fire
  • how to get out of the house in case of danger
  • how to call for help in an emergency
  • important information like addresses and telephone numbers

I’ve even started talking to him about first aid – EAR (expired air resuscitation) and ECC (external cardiac compressions). Of course, I don’t think he would be able to perform first aid but at least he knows the basics. The full knowledge and understanding will come with age and experience.

It will probably require several more repeats before the information becomes second nature since a natural side effect of an emergency is that it tends to make people panic, and when you panic, you lose the ability to think properly. And if this is what happens to adults, you can bet that the mind of a child will be even more chaotic in the event of an emergency.

These are just the basic survival skills.

Then there are the skills required to live alone. Since I won’t always be around to cook dinner, it’s probably a good idea if the boys know how to cook a little so they don’t end up eating junk for every meal. Of course, financial knowledge is also important. Far too many people have poor financial knowledge (myself included). At the end of the day, I want to know that if my boys had nothing but the shirts on their backs, they would still be able to make it in life.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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