Encourage Kids Skill Development

By UBC Camps

Children are naturally life-long learners! Especially during this unprecedented time, life skills are being developed and strengthened.

While COVID-19 has caused a disruption in formalized schooling, children have not stopped learning! During this time, parents/guardians can continue to support informal learning and growth at home by cultivating these essential life skills:

Compassion & Empathy
  • Discuss with your children how physical distancing, and other actions, can help protect our community in age appropriate ways. You can even use a video to assist; there’s a video for younger children too.
  • Give children additional responsibilities around caring for household pets, or assisting with younger siblings. Siblings can be encouraged to write or draw notes of affirmation to each other through an in-home mail system.
Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Conflict in cramped quarters is inevitable! Encourage your children to think about how others may feel, and teach them how to use ‘I statements’ – not ‘you statements’ – in expressing how they feel.
  • Help children monitor their own emotions, and encourage deep breathing, play breaks or other emotional regulation tools.
  • With children not being able to visit the playground, see their friends, or even interrupt a work meeting to ask a question, children are naturally learning to wait. Children can also practice waiting by playing board games, baking cookies, or taking turns choosing TV programs or movies.

Creativity & Ingenuity
  • Allow for unstructured time! Children can learn to be more creative and entertain themselves, but only if given opportunities to practice this kind of self-sufficiency.
  • Encourage imaginative play by making a dress-up kit with old clothing, scarves and hats; a great way to spring clean your closet as well!
  • Pick-up a piece of the outdoors on your next family walk and let children decorate these magic stones or wands, or try printmaking with cedar branches or flowers.
  • Ask children ‘what if’ questions in your conversations to support thinking outside the box (ex. what if clouds were made of cotton candy?).
  • Challenge children to create something from a seemingly unconnected set of household materials (ex. can you make a race car from an empty tissue box, string, paper clips and scissors within the next hour?).
Household Skills
  • Get your children involved in meal preparation: washing lettuce, cutting bananas, and even grocery planning. You can assign older children a set day of the week to make a meal with you, and have your child find and choose which recipe for task ownership.
  • Show your children how to change a light bulb safely, or weed a flower bed; try planting a window ledge herb garden. Household skills are living skills for their future.

The valuable skills gained during this time period will encourage independence, and grow your child’s confidence and self esteem!