10 Life Skills You Are Teaching Your Kids During COVID-19

conscious parenting Mar 30, 2020
10 Life Skills You Are Teaching Your Kids

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Are you panicking, worrying, and stressing that your children are not in school,  daycare, or some sort of structured learning….?

You are not alone.

Parents are burning out trying to be employees, teachers and parents.

My sister, a teacher of 18  years (with 3 pre-teens of her own) said she is getting panicked emails from parents worrying they are not doing a 'good enough job', that  'they are still on chapter 5' and they are 'emotionally exhausted' trying to teach, parent and work (while stressing about finances).  

Parents have got to give themselves a break.

Because, the thing is, the life lessons your children are learning right now are some of the most valuable life skills they can learn.

Ones that a classroom cannot necessarily teach.

Only life can teach.

The so called “soft skills” of life.

In this blog post, my sister, Mrs Megan Michea and I share a teacher's and a social worker's thoughts on the important life lessons you can (and will!) teach your kids during COVID-19. 


What are Life Skills or 'Soft Skills'?

"Soft skills” is a term that corporate worlds use to describe skills such as communication, critical thinking, leadership, mindfulness, attitudes, flexibility and teamwork just to mention a few.  Whereas  “hard skills” are used to explain the expertise required for a personal to DO the job.

 In other words:

 Soft Skills = the humanness of work. {Communication, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, creativity, attitudes, empathy and teamwork}

Hard Skills = the educational and technical knowledge of work. {degrees, certificate, Doctorates.}

For the record, I detest the term 'soft skills' because in reality these are some of the most valuable HUMAN SKILLS a person can have.

Although ‘hard skills’ are important, they can easily be learned throughout your child’s life. It is the ‘soft skills’ that are built through experience, role-modeling and real life challenges.

Ask yourself…. do you really remember grade 9 Algebra? Or do you remember your grade 9 teacher who taught you about compassion, laughter and self worth? Do you remember a grade 5 history lesson? Or do you remember a life lesson you learned from recess? 

These so called “soft skills” are the building blocks of character.

Of leadership.

Of the future.

Of humanity.

Soft Skills are a NECESSITY for life.


Why Soft Skills are a Necessity

Did you know Sandford University’s most popular business school course is teaching student these ‘soft skills?”. The course is literally nicknamed the “touchy-feely” course and it is one of their most sought after elective course. Harvard even found that 85% of job success comes from having soft skills and only 15% job success from from the hard skills. 

With so much focus on the 'hard skills' and not enough focus on these so called 'soft skills',  the mental and emotional health of our children is declining.  Studies show 1 in 3 adolescents  will experience an anxiety disorder and 63% of college students feel overwhelming anxiety. 

This is why it is more important than ever for children to learn these soft skills. So they can not only be successful later in life, but have the skills needed to better manage their emotional health, mental health, communication skills all the while increasing their emotional intelligence. 

And this is the perfect time to help them develop them. 


How to Teach Your Kids Soft Skills

The two best way to teach your children these skills are

  1. Role modelling – Kids copy what they see. Subconsciously their minds are taking in others response, reactions and communication skills and soaking up how the people they love deal with situations.
  2. Personal Experience - We have to let children experience certain situations that may be uncomfortable in order for them to really embrace the life lesson and the soft skill.

 Before you start getting more stressed that you have to add one more thing onto your already packed plate… the beautiful thing about soft skills are that they are taught through life.

Through the everyday ebb and flow of your life.

And whether you are aware of it or not, your kids are learning soft skills from you day in and day out.

So, instead of getting caught up on not being in level 5 of the text book, or not getting that unit in algebra completed… recognize you are teaching them some of the most important life lessons now, through you. By simply spending time with them. Talking to them. Learning with them. Role modelling for them. 


10 Valuable Life Skills Your Children are Learning During the Pandemic 


  1. Conflict Resolution – Parents, kids, pets stuck inside for prolonged periods of time...naturally leads to this. There are going to be times someone loses their cool, when there are disagreements and frustrations. Let them unfold and be sure to talk about it with your children once things have cooled off. You are teaching your children the importance of conflict resolution, apologizing and forgiveness. 


  1. Compromise and Negotiation – Electronic use is going to be up right now, but there can still be limits on it and used as a tool for compromising. Mrs Michea uses this negotiation tactic regularly with her 8,11 and 13 year old’s. “You can have more electronic time, tv time, etc. if...you help me with the one chore a day, go for a walk outside without complaining when I ask, etc.” You are teaching your children  not everything will go their way and they need to be flexible, be able to compromise and find a middle ground.  


  1. Resiliency and Coping Skills – If you or your children are feeling anxious teach them skills to help them cope. Go for a walk outdoors, go into your backyard, open your windows, listen for sounds of life returning in the spring, acknowledge and discuss fears and anxiety, find an app that works for them… Mrs Michea recommends Calm App (limited access is free). You are teaching your children how to manage their anxiety, their emotions and strategies on how to cope with them. 


  1. Compassion and Empathy – It is likely you and your children are  missing loved ones that you cannot see and are feeling sad about this. So what can you do? You can call them on the telephone, facetime them, draw and create pictures and cards that we can (hopefully) mail to them. You can explain the reason why they cant see their friends, grandparents, etc is because the world is working together to not only make our world healthier but to also help others with compromised immune systems, who have medical conditions stay safe and healthy because they also have people they love and miss too. 


  1. Creativity and Collaboration – Explain to your children that you know this is not how you expected to spend March Break, but collaborate together to come up with ideas on how to make the most of it. Things like playing multiplayer video games, board and card games, doing a puzzle, creating an online video, learning more about each other, sharing memories, doing art projects, mechanical projects, learning something new together, asking them to teach you something. You are teaching your children critical thinking, collaboration and creativity. 


  1. Emotional Intelligence – Ask your children what and how they are feeling. What do they feel in their bodies and in their minds? Ask them to explain it to you and then validate what they are feeling is normal and they are not alone.  Make sure they know that what they are feeling is a normal reaction and it is okay. By validating their feelings you are teaching them awareness of their feelings and creating emotional intelligence and emotional resiliency.


  1. Self Awareness – When your child is upset or has thrown a tantrum encourage self awareness by asking them why they think they reacted that way.  Show empathy towards them acknowledging you understand they are feeling ‘trapped’. Ask them what is something they can do to make them feel better --  do they need fresh air, do they need to go read in their room, do they need to get in the shower? Help them discover coping strategies that work for them when they feel themselves getting rallied up. You are teaching them emotional resiliency and self awareness. 


  1. Mindfulness – Let them be bored. Learning how to be bored is a skill. It is teaching them how to be in the present, how to use their imagination, how to problem solve on what they want to do to fill their time, how to mange emotions that are probably going on because they are bored. Being bored is fine. Let them be bored. They are learning patience, mindfulness, and how to sit in the present moment. 


  1. Patience – Most likely the kids will be getting antsy at certain times of the days and weeks ahead. They want to be back in school, with their friends or ‘back to normal’. Just as adults will most likely be feeling the same. This is a lesson in patience for all of us. You are teaching them resilience, patience and surrender. Remember,  “This too Shall Pass” (Thibault).


  1. Growth Mindset, Questioning and Curiosity – Now is the perfect time for your child to engage in something they have always wondered about. Maybe they want to learn guitar (hello, online guitar lessons), maybe they want to know random facts about everything – (hello Google), or  maybe they want to learn how to plant a bonsai tree (hello Amazon). This is self motivated and engaged learning at its finest! You are teaching them how to follow their passion, encouraging a growth mindset and teaching them to always chase curiosity.


By recognizing and acknowledging the life skills your children are learning by just being part of these times hopefully takes some of the pressure you are putting on yourself and your children to ‘learn a certain way’. 

In the grande scheme of life, you are instilling critical life skills into your children that are just, if not, more valuable than completing 9th grade Algebra.

As Einstein said “Play is the highest form of research”.



Teacher's Bonus Tip

To better support your children's development (and your sanity)  over the coming weeks:

  • Recognize that learning is going to be more practical than structured at this time and your kids can, and will,  learn essential life skills through daily activities you are all engaging in.
  • Try and keep some sort of loose structure and routine in your day. Just as we do, children work well on routines and knowing what is coming next.
  • Keep a morning routine – Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up. Brush teeth. Keep lunch around the same time (12-1 pm) to avoid not eating dinner and complaining of being starving before bed.
  • Keep a consistent bed time - We all need our sleep and our sanity. Children need sleep. Parents need alone time when kids are asleep. Even if it is a bit later.... try and keep consistency. Children need routine and structure to thrive.
  • Pick one ‘big job’ a day - have a goal for the day with your family. Whether it is starting your plants indoors, organizing a room in the house, going through closets, purging/switching over sizes, winter to spring/summer clothing, cleaning bathrooms, doing the laundry. Have one ‘family task’ each day.


By having a loose structure and routine to your day, you are keeping some consistency in your children’s lives as their little minds are in a time of exponential emotional growth. 


Are you a teacher needing information on how you can support your student during these times?  

Check out a great resource from Education Degree  - A Teacher's Guide to Supporting Students with Anxiety to help support students who may be experiencing anxiety. 


Know other parents who may need this read? Click an image below to share on Pinterest.  



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