With lockdown continuing until further notice, even the most ardent screen fiend will be itching to move away from the tablet or TV to try something new. Many parents are making great use of this enforced time at home to teach their kids, and often themselves, new skills during lockdown...and we’ve compiled a few of our favourites for you here.
Let’s take a look!
Learn how to learn
Probably the most important life skill of all is the ability to learn. Oddly, learning how to learn isn’t taught in schools, but it should be. Nurturing a willingness to gain or acquire knowledge, both independently or in a classroom setting, will stand your child in good stead for the rest of their lives.
Teaching your kids how to learn is infinitely more valuable than telling them what to learn, so if you do one thing with them during this time, make it this one. There are loads of resources online to help you out, and you might learn a thing or two yourself along the way as well.
In a world full of fast fashion, sewing was quickly becoming a lost art. Recently, however, a growing number of individuals have turned back time and the craft is going through somewhat of a renaissance of late. Learning how to make or repair items of clothing or soft furnishings can be extremely rewarding, and kids love the hands-on nature of needlework.
While the best sewing machine out there will cost you a pretty penny, there are loads of really good domestic sewing appliances available at very affordable prices, so it’s not too expensive to get started with this worthwhile hobby.
Getting your little (or not-so-little) ones out in the garden is fantastic for mind, body, and soul. You can learn a lot from planting seedlings and watching them grow...and there isn't a kid on earth who doesn't enjoy digging around in the mud. Get planting!
Children start to learn this vital skill from day one, but there’s plenty of scope for improvement for all of us in this field. Teaching them to read social cues and articulate exactly what they mean, want, or need effectively will be enormously beneficial later on in life, and the good news is that it isn’t hard to make dramatic advances.
Taking the time to talk with and listen to your child on a regular basis will yield incredible results. Kids yearn for interaction with an interested adult - one that isn’t holding a smartphone or otherwise distracted - and providing them with this quality time will improve their lives exponentially, both now and in the future.
While many may not like them, they are an essential part of life. The thing with household chores like cleaning, washing, vacuuming, etc. is that if you actually take the time to learn how to do them correctly, they become a whole lot more rewarding and, dare I say it, enjoyable.
Teaching your youngsters how to do these basic tasks will help with their independence and have the dual benefit of giving you an extra pair of hands to help around the house. Just don’t get too carried away and delegate everything to your seven-year old!
How to read a map
Obviously, you can't get out there and put this into action, but the theory can most definitely be taught at home. Learning the basics of map reading is essential, even in the days of Sat Nav and Google Maps, so don't shirk on this one.
Being able to conjure up something delicious at the drop of a hat is truly a skill worth having. With more and more of us cutting back on our visits to the supermarkets at the moment, having the ability to cook from scratch is more important than ever.
What if you’re not that great in the kitchen yourself?
Then why not learn together? There are tens of thousands of recipes, courses, and videos online, with most of them offered for free. No excuses...get cooking!
Teaching your child basic first aid is a great way of empowering them, and it can have some very positive knock-on effects as well. Not only will first aid education enable them to help others in times of need, it’ll also give them a broader overview of the importance of good health and what it means to be fit and well.
The British Red Cross has a great site aimed at five to 11 year olds that will help walk your children through the primary principles of first aid. Check it out.
Budgeting and money management
This may seem rather dull, but there’s never been a better time to talk to kids about the importance of budgeting and money management than right now. Many parents choose to start with pocket money and the fundamentals of saving to buy larger items a child may want, but you can go further.
Kids are able to grasp much grander ideas than we give them credit for, and sowing the right seeds now could mean the difference between wealth and making do further down the line. If there’s one financial rule we should all be teaching our children, it’s the power of compound interest. They’ll thank you for it later.
Knowing how to craft a well thought out letter may seem to be a non-essential these days, but there's a lot to benefit from this skill. Whether it's a future job application or complaint, your child will reap the rewards of learning this particular task right now.
Lots of us are cracking on with the DIY to-do list during this period of lockdown, so why not involve your kids and teach them a thing or two along the way. Naturally, we’re not talking about getting them to plaster a wall here, but they can certainly try their hands at things like changing plugs and hanging pictures with proper adult supervision.
You could also teach them how to use the tools in your toolbox safely, starting with really basic items such as screwdrivers and spanners, highlighting the importance of handling them correctly as you go.
Critical thinking sounds like a tough subject to tackle, but it’s really not that difficult at all and many children have a fantastic grasp of problem solving already, brought about through hours of play. Again, communication plays a huge role here, and parents should be asking ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions as much as they’re asking ‘what’?
Check out Brian Oshiro’s excellent TED talk on encouraging critical thinking to find out more about how you can make your child better at what many consider to be an essential skill for the 21st century.
Being a wise consumer
This could easily tie in with the money management section above, but being a wise consumer actually warrants a section of its own. Show kids how to navigate comparison websites, explain why shopping around is so important, and detail why prices can vary so much as part of their consumer education.
If you want to learn more about what we do here at Petty’s, our phone lines and email addresses are still being manned and answered despite our offices being temporarily closed. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, rent or let, we can help you achieve your property goals. Give us a call!