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As soon as a baby is born, a mother starts worrying about the skills that the baby needs to learn. He has to learn to sit, crawl, stand and walk. Later on, he must learn to speak, know numbers and his rhymes. As my daughter conquered all of these milestones, there stood before her a whole basket of new ones. These are the 8 practical life skills that I think are very important for a child of today, and so I would like my daughter to learn.

Cooking: My mother would say, “Being a girl, you must learn cooking!” Well, that was my mother, and she could get away with the ‘girl’ bit in the 90s. However, the other part still stands true even in the early 21st century. “You must learn cooking!” Had I a son, I would insist on him too to learn to cook.

One can make pasta or instant noodles, but can they survive on them?

One can buy frozen or ready to eat foods from outside, but are they healthy or nutritious enough?

One can hire the best of cooks or chefs, but they have their off days and bad days too!

And while I am at cooking, it wouldn’t hurt them to learn a bit of grocery shopping, how to keep home clean, doing laundry, etc.

Swimming: Some may call it a sport, some a form of exercise, but for me it’s an absolutely valuable life skill. And, thus totally non-negotiable. You never know, one day your child might need it or someone else might be able to benefit from it too.

I didn’t learn swimming as I was afraid of water, and till date I get nightmares of drowning in the water. Hence, I had decided that my daughter would have no such fear of any element. She would learn swimming, and learnt she has. 😊

Driving: Still many years to go for it, but it’s on the list nonetheless. There are hail-a-cab and many app-based cabs available everywhere, however, there might come a time when you have to fall back upon your driving skills. I learnt driving when I was 16 (no, I am not proud of it now, but at that time, it was kind of an achievement). I don’t drive very frequently nowadays, but I know that should any emergency rise, I can drive without a moment’s hesitation.

Also, driving alone doesn’t accomplish matters, they must learn how to change tires, check the oil and the tire pressure.

Self-defense: Children must know how to prevent themselves from harm, to defend themselves against unsafe people or bullies. Self-defense boosts confidence and self-esteem, and thus kids are always ready even in the event of a sudden attack.

First aid: How many of us here actually know how to do a CPR? I am sure not a very impressive number. Well, with readily available YouTube videos of practically everything, you can even do a CPR. But, isn’t it important to learn these things beforehand so that you don’t have to waste precious moments looking for the right video.

However, before jumping to more life saving first aid techniques, kids should start with basic knowledge of treating common ailments (cold, cough, flu) or caring for wounds with natural remedies.

Reading: With the invention of smartphone and tablets, reading has gone out of fashion. But, reading is truly a survival skill too. If you find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere without the Internet (no Insta, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, just imagine) or in the middle of people you don’t want to interact to, reading is actually one of the few things that can see you through this torture. Believe me, been there, done that!

Pack their own bag: I have seen many men in my family, who when they have to travel, their wives pack their bags. Do you find that sweet? Surely not when you come to know that they just cannot pack their own bags. Left alone, they would forget half of the important things to pack. It’s not funny, because it makes a person dependent on people all through their life. Packing bags is not rocket science, and totally doable.

Talking to people: It’s a skill, believe me. And one doesn’t needn’t be in HR to learn or appreciate it. Every person is different – his knowledge, his emotional intelligence, his values and his understanding. Hence, every person should be dealt with differently. And that is the reason why talking to people in the manner they understand or relate to is so important. Kids should know how to talk to their domestic staff, supermarket staff, cab driver, colleague, neighbor, friend and family, in such a way that they feel heard, appreciated and good.

When kids know these skills, they will always be prepared for the worst situation and never have to be dependent on anyone.

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