February 2022: 3 Essential Life Skills for Children

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As a recent addition to the many useful tools we offer at Bright Minds Training, we will now publish a monthly blog! Here, we will feature what is new in the Early Childhood Education world, along with information about our newest and upcoming courses, and free monthly curriculum!

3 Essential Life Skills for Children

When it comes to teaching the children in your care, there is so much more than just ABC’s and 123’s. I remember thinking many years ago, during circle time with my 4- year-old class, “WOW! These kids are so smart! They know 10 animals in sign language, can count to 10 in Spanish, can sing their ABC’s and spell their names.” However, I found myself thinking on a fairly regular basis, “Why do they have such a hard time sharing? Why aren’t they using their manners? Why won’t they take turns? Why do they leave their empty milk cups on the table?”
Here’s why: You can’t teach life skills to children with worksheets, flash cards and songs. There are several life skills that children should be taught beginning at a young age. This month’s blog goes hand-in-hand with our newest course, “Preparing Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” Here, I will explain the importance of 3 of these skills and how to teach and encourage them in the classroom.


This one is tricky. According to a research study done by ZERO TO THREE and the Bezos Family Foundation, children do not even begin to understand what self-control is until they are 3.5-4 years old. This is because the part of the brain that is responsible for processing emotions and impulsive feelings is not yet developed in children under the age of three years old. We all know that self-control isn’t easy, even as adults. It can be hard to put the chips down after just one handful. So, how do we teach self-control to young children? We introduce the act through play in FUN and simple ways!  Games like “red light, yellow light, green light” and “freeze dance”, exercise children’s ability to stop when they really want to GO!


Language is tricky and I do not mean just the words that we speak. Communication also includes nonverbals like facial expressions, body language, and more. We begin communicating as infants with coos and cries and eventually speak in full sentences. During the first years of life, a child’s brain is growing at such a rate that we forget that while they are learning how to sit, crawl, walk, eat, play, they are also learning how to communicate.

One of the best ways to foster a child’s ability to learn how to communicate is by providing them with a language-rich environment. Putting ABC posters on the walls of your classroom is great. However, ensuring that the children in your care know the way they communicate is seen and heard is even more beneficial. When we stop and really talk to the children in our care on a one-to-one basis, we see how differently each of them communicates. Take a minute to ask them how their day is going, describe how the rest of the day will play out, or point out their body language. For example, when you’re speaking to a child and they look happy, say something like, “I see a smile on your face. You must really like doing that!” And finally, make sure you READ to them!


One of the most important things to teach when it comes to responsibility is that it is a positive thing, not a burden. All children want to feel independent and be able to do things on their own. We have all spent our fair share of watching a child put their jacket on all by themself for 5 minutes.. Part of this process is patience on the adults part. Teaching responsibility requires us to give a lot of reminders like, “don’t forget to hang your jacket in your cubby” and “make sure you wash your hands after you go potty.” It is also important to learn to say “no” when needed. Teaching responsibility gives children the feeling of being proud and worthy, it gives their life meaning. As we remind them to throw their lunch plate in the trash when they are finished, make sure to follow up with a word of affirmation. Watch their face light up with joy when they realize they did something responsible. Think about how you would feel if someone said “great job” after you folded all the laundry.
Life skills are essential to, well… life. As early childhood educators, sometimes it is just as important to teach the children in your care to flush the toilet as it is to write their name 🙂
To learn more and to earn some of your annual training hours at a great price, take our course “Preparing Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” To get 10% off, use discount code: LIFESKILLS 

’Til next time, friends!


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