DEVELOPING INDEPENDENT SKILLS IN CHILDREN:
For the FamiLYF section we have been looking at developing independent skills in our children.
Each attribute will be posted in a sequel of blog posts using the 5 pillars of WangeciLYFs Developing Independent Skills in Children based on the acronym SALLT.
- Spiritual Character
- Life-skill Training
- Talent Development
Today we will look at
Life-Skill Training and Development
Our children will not always be with us, as a result we have to train them to be independent, able to function fully even when they are away from us. This includes self-care, caring for their environment and respecting people’s property.
Parents ought to pass on these skills because Proverbs 4:10 says
My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life.
I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths.
If you live a life guided by wisdom, you won’t limp or stumble as you run.
Carry out my instructions; don’t forsake them. Guard them, for they will lead you to a fulfilled life.
This verse shows that there has to be instruction time between parents and children where a parent teaches the child what is good and right and guides them in the way of wisdom. This time of instruction is what reduces and eliminates a quarrelsome, barking and shouting of orders or corrections. Always begin by giving clear instructions to the child. Include clear consequences for not following instructions. This provides the child with an opportunity to follow instructions and trains the child to obey instructions. Faltering in either of the two points provides opportunity for correction and implementing of consequences if there is repeated disobedience.
Step 1: Pre-determine a set time in the week when you will have instruction time. Give it a cool name so that children do not start avoiding the session. Also have a fun icebreaker so that instruction time is associated with fun.
Step 2: Identify the age-appropriate life skill training for each child based on observed need or lifeskill needed for a particular developmental stage. For children aged 0- 24 months skills that need to be developed are sleeping through the night, eating while sitting, potty training, taming tantrums. For pre-teens independent skills may include bed making, washing dishes, washing underwear, arranging the table. For teens and beyond, tasks may include laundry, mopping, organizing closets, cooking and shopping.
Step 3: Demonstrate the task as the child watches. So if it is making the bed. Then let the child watch how you do it. Do it several times so that there is transference of skill. The child should participate in the second and third demonstration so that you are doing the task with them and they assist in completing the task. The children should interact and practice the skill while you check quality and maintenance of standards. Once the skill is somewhat mastered. You can proceed to the next step.
Step 4: Immerse the child into the specific task where you set goal tasks that need to be done in your absence. You will then come and check for quality of work done and gently correct and instruct until the skill is acquired. For older children and young adults, this could include job shadowing in a workplace that practices the particular task such as making beds in a hotel or hospital.
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