The most useful thing I learnt at school was touch typing—I never realised how important being able to type fast would be for work-life balance.
Kids these days have a lot more on their plate. They’re being signed up for all manner of enrichment classes, from coding to mixed martial arts. Then there are, of course, the neverending tuition sessions.
But the truth is, for all their enrichment classes, many kids grow up lacking basic skills that their parents could have taught them for free or at least, very cheaply.
Here are six important life skills it doesn’t cost much to teach your child.
Now that Singapore is trying to turn itself into a cycling nation, those who never acquired the skill as a kid are feeling left out in the cold.
It is infinitely easier to learn to cycle as a kid than as an adult—kids are not only less self-conscious, they’re also lighter and easier to support. So do your kid a favour and teach him to cycle while he still weighs under 20kg.
Some parents are weirdly obsessed about their kids not getting too tanned. Even so, swimming is an important life skill that your kids absolutely must learn.
While some parents teach their kids on their own, others hire a swim coach. This shouldn’t cost too much—unless you’re trying to groom your kid for Olympic glory, group classes should cost you only about $60 to $100 a month.
Kids can start learning to swim in kindergarten. The earlier the better, since learning will put your kid at a lower risk of a drowning accident.
Basic cooking skills
The majority of Singaporeans rate their cooking skills poorly, according to a 2014 survey. Don’t let your child be one of them.
Everybody, man or woman, should at least be able to whip up a decent meal for themselves on a consistent basis. If your child doesn’t learn basic cooking skills and eats out daily as an adult, you can bet his health will suffer.
The easiest way is to get your kids involved when you prepare meals at home. Diabetes is a huge problem in Singapore, and equipping your child with the skills to feed himself healthily will go some way towards ensuring he doesn’t become another statistic.
Basic sewing skills
Your kid doesn’t have to become the next Alexander McQueen. But he will benefit greatly from learning basic sewing skills such as how to sew on a button or hem jeans.
These are super easy procedures that anyone can do from home with minimum equipment. Yet so many Singaporeans pay a tailor to do them because they don’t know how.
Map reading skills
Okay, you might argue, thanks to GPS there is no longer a need to read maps. Well, at some point your kid’s smartphone battery is going to die, or he’s going to find himself overseas without an internet connection.
Despite the fact that maps are becoming an increasingly popular hipster decorating item, fewer and fewer people can actually read them, or effectively use them to navigate.
Money management and comparison shopping
What’s the point in doing everything you can to ensure your kid gets a lucrative job when he grows up if he’s going to become an adult who’s terrible at managing the money he earns?
Money management and skills like comparison shopping should be taught all through childhood.
For instance, when your child tags along on trips to the supermarket, show him how you comparison shop and explain why you shouldn’t just take the first product you see. Get him involved by asking him to help you choose between differently-priced products.
When your child is older and starts receiving an allowance, that’s when you can start discussing budgeting, saving and even investing.
What life skills do you think all parents should teach their children? Tell us in the comments!