4 Essential Skill Sets Kids Can Grow at Home
The current situation of isolation limits many of us to remaining at home all day. While this is a challenge, it also provides a unique opportunity for families to play, bond and learn together. Children are used to learning on a day-to-day basis. Following a daily routine, which includes learning, has become habitual for them. This may be in school or daycares and at different sports or other free-time activities that contribute to healthy development. Given the current inaccessibility to these, many parents now ask themselves what skill sets their kids can grow at home.
Kids are just as ready to learn now as they would be if they went on with their day-to-day lives. Therefore, continuous learning is important. Traditional homeschooling is one way to help our children continue learning. However, as parents and families, we can do more. We can use this readiness to teach them in a playful manner from home.
For a balanced approach and to encompass a variety of important skills, our approach should be split into four predominant skill sets: physical, speech and language skills, cognitive and emotional and social skills. Read on to know what these consist of and how children can cultivate new skills at home.
Developing physical skills while staying at home
Now that we are limited to being inside our homes, physical activity should be highly encouraged. If we tend to sink into the couch and only commute between the fridge and bed, kids will quickly adopt the same behaviour. However, physical activity is integral to the development of motor skills and coordination. It enhances their reflexes.
Furthermore, achieving a good set of physical skills at a young age will also encourage them to maintain an active lifestyle throughout their adult life. A healthy body, in fact, makes us feel good about ourselves and improves our general happiness. In summary, even when we are not able to go out much, we should stay physically active. Besides, a child tired from playing sleeps well and lets you, as a parent, get to the things that fell by the wayside while taking care of your little ones all day.
Below are some fun ways to encourage your kids to stay active at home:
- Dance: Simply move your couch and create your own dance floor: Zumba or Baby Shark for little ones, Shuffle or TikTok Dances for teens;
- Gardening: If you’re part of the lucky families that can enjoy their garden, now is the perfect time to take advantage of it. By bending over to pull out weeds, squatting to dig holes for seedlings or even simply moving around, gardening is a way for kids to stay active and healthy. Discover the other benefits of gardening for kids;
- Fine motor and coordination games: Jenga and Mikado are famous games that will help your kids develop this skill set;
- Flexibility and movement games: A game of Twister is a great option to practice a physical activity while having fun with the entire family.
Developing speech and language skills
Among all the skill sets kids develop from a young age, speech & language are extensively practiced at school. With the help of their teachers and school programs, children learn to express themselves in a precise and eloquent manner. When it comes to the linguistic skill set, we are quick to think about studying a foreign language. But the learning of speech and language skills is integrated in almost every subject, with the usage of specific vocabulary, terms and words.
When kids are at home, they stay within the same environment, see the same things, and therefore, often use the same words and language. This is why helping them develop speech and language skills at home now is highly required.
To jog your kids’ linguistic skills, you can encourage them to do the following:
- Read books, stories and poems and make it a daily habit. While at home, finding a way to renew your kids’ book collection will keep them learning new things. Subscribing to a kids book club – such as Hey Reader in the Netherlands – is a good option to have books and arts and crafts activities delivered to your door;
- Play word and description games: Scrabble, Charades, I Spy or Simon Says are great examples of games to play at home, depending on your kid’s age;
- Learn songs and lyrics: From basic child songs to favorite doubletime raps, you can be creative and use music to help you kids develop linguistic skills.
Spending time at home is a perfect opportunity to stimulate kids' reading habits.
Helping children improve their cognitive skill set
Cognitive skills are one of the skill sets that kids develop throughout the entirety of their childhood – starting with basic principles like cause and effect, to advanced problem solving and critical thinking. Generally, cognitive skills are linked to information processing. Kids’ cognitive skills determine how they figure things out. It helps children understand the world around them. In adults, it helps us to approach complicated situations and resolve problems. Depending on age, it is important to challenge children with an appropriate level of complexity in order to enhance their cognitive abilities.
While at home, you can do this with the help of the following:
- Organization games: Depending on your kids age, puzzle, match match/memory or even sudoku are options to consider for cognitive skill development;
- Strategic games: Staying at home is the perfect opportunity to teach children to play chess, which they can keep playing while growing up and as an adult;
- Classic card games: Crazy Eights, Snip Snap Snorem, Go Fish – the list of card games you can play as a family is pretty long, and your kids won’t even realize that they are actually learning a lot while playing.
Building emotional & social skills from home
We will conclude this list of skill sets kids can develop at home with a very important one: emotions and social life skills.
Learning on an emotional and social level can be very hard in isolation, primarily because learning emotionally is often a gradual and integrative process. This process is slowed when there are fewer social touchpoints and interactions with other people. That is why now it is more important than ever to actively teach our kids about our societal concepts and the importance of contributing to society.
Listed below are some things you can do at home to build emotional and social skills:
- Writing letters to elderly homes: In addition to creating a nice surprise for the elderly, this activity will teach children cross-generational communication and the importance of elders;
- Make kids communicate: Through daily conversations and intimate moments, encourage them to express their emotions and opinions;
- Use books and movies: Try to make them understand why a character feels a certain way in a scene or a chapter;
- Create fictional situations with dolls or toys: Give your kids an opportunity to create dialogues and imagine situations that will require them to express feelings.