PARENTS

10 Life Skills Your Child Should Have Before The Age Of 10

15/05/2011 22:33 | Updated 22 May 2015

10 life skills your child should have before the age of 10

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Today's children might be computer-literate, but when it came to real-life matters just 48 per cent knew their own home address; only a third can write their first and last names and just 11 per cent can tie their shoe laces.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) says: 'Children today are of course familiar with technology and whilst this important, early learning is critical in helping them learn valuable skills such as reading, writing, counting and how to communicate with others and manage risks independently. Thankfully, real life presents wonderful opportunities for learning.'

Here are 10 real-life skills your child needs before the age of 10 – and what you can do to make sure they achieve them...

1. Dress themselves

By the age of three, all children have enough motor skills to be able to put on their clothes in the right order; do up easy buttons; put their shoes on the right feet; and do up coats. Zips may take a bit longer. If all of this is too stressful due to lack of time in the morning, play dressing up games later in the day instead. Children learn best through repetition.

2. Use the toilet

Be positive and upbeat - present the change from nappies as something exciting. Dress your toddler in clothes that can be pulled down easily and give lots of praise when your child manages to do a wee on the potty - stress how grown up and clever he is. Don't rush things and expect setbacks - you didn't expect your child to learn to walk without a lot of falls and this is no different.

3. Use a knife and fork

Children learn by copying, so demonstrate how you want your toddler to eat. Introduce cutlery early on – but accept you're likely to find more food on the floor than in their mouth at first and resist telling them off for using their fingers.

4. Clean their teeth

You should help your child clean his teeth until the age of eight, but you can encourage them to get involved long before this. 'Let them choose their toothbrush and a children's toothpaste,' advises Janet Clarke of the British Dental Association. 'Let them watch you brush your teeth and they'll probably want to copy you. Give them a go, then brush the bits they've missed.'

5. Swim unaided

Irene Joyce, STA Aquatic Technical Officer says: 'Confidence in the water begins at home so introduce toys, blow bubbles and float and kick in the bath. At the pool your child will mimic your actions and reactions to water, so smile, relax and support your child gently. The more they play and experiment with water, the more confident they'll become. The natural movements made will easily transfer to become recognised strokes as they develop more control. And remember: never leave your child alone and unsupervised in and around water!'

6. Know the value of money

Helping your children look after their finances is vital and a good place to start is with their pocket money.

'Encourage your kids to save some of their pocket money and they'll develop the savings habit early on,' says financial expert Adrian Kidd. 'Most importantly, teach them to ask themselves whether they really need that new toy or game. If you help your kids differentiate between what they want and what they actually need, you'll take the pressure off them when they're older to buy things they can't afford.'

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7. Learn to cook

Ask them to weigh and measure ingredients for you and teach them to chop soft foods like banana and avocado with a blunt knife. Teach them to smell, taste and test as they go along. Make pizzas and let them experiment with toppings, and teach them the difference between foods that are undercooked, burnt or ready to eat.

8. Handling emotions

Powerful emotions like anger, jealousy or fear can feel out of control and overwhelming for young children and the best way for your kids to learn how to manage them is through your example.

'Kids watch what their parents do,' says Suzie Hayman of Family Lives. 'Instead of shouting you need to be able to talk, negotiate, listen and explain yourself – with other adults and your children. Then they'll learn to manage conflict in the same way.'

9. Road safety

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), says: 'Simply walking to school provides fantastic opportunities to talk about road safety and put into practice things like choosing safe places to cross, and not being distracted by a mobile phone or friends when your attention really should be on the road. And, because children pick up so much from observing what grown-ups do, it's important you set a good example, by wearing a cycle helmet, using pedestrian crossings, and not using your mobile while driving.'

10. Good manners

When your child's old enough to ask for food or a toy, they're old enough to ask politely. Listen to the language your child uses. If they aren't using words like 'please' and 'thank you', correct them. And remember, no matter what you tell a child, what you show them makes a far greater impact. So set the right example.

Are there any other things you think it's important for children to be able to before the age of 10?

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