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What are Life Skills and How Can My Child Learn Them?

Schoolchildren and teacher at school in a cooking class

The term ‘Life Skills’ refers to the skills you need to make the most out of life.

Any skill that is useful in your life can be considered a life skill. Tying your shoe laces, swimming, driving a car and using a computer are, for most people, useful life skills.

Broadly speaking, the term ‘life skills’ is usually used for any of the skills needed to deal well and effectively with the challenges of life.

Life skills includes a wide range of abilities that enable a person to perform personal care and more complicated tasks such as travelling, shopping, community participation etc., Occupational Therapists provide life skills training programmes to meet the needs of the clients.

Occupational Therapists assist young people to create individualised goals through life skills training. These goals include achieving skills such as banking, budgeting, shopping, kitchen safety, meal preparation and planning, coping with stress, community access, assertiveness, and self-advocating. Life skills are like physical skills in the way that they are learned, through modelling and practice and then transferred to other environments.

At Bursting with Potential, we have a Skills 4 Life Programme, for young adults focussing on Independent Living Skills. This is a group for teens and young adults, with additional needs to develop their independent living and vocational skills across a range of topics from cooking, planning, shopping, budgeting and skills for work, as well as household and self-care tasks. All within a supportive and socially inclusive setting.

As life skills educators, Occupational Therapists use a client-centred approach to assess occupational performance areas and associated environmental factors. Life skills training can be given in the home or in various community areas, such as banks, shops, markets, streets, as individual trainings, or group workshops that provide opportunities for the young people to learn from each other where appropriate.

The five main life skills areas defined by WHO Department of Mental Health are:

  • Decision-making and problem-solving,
  • Creative thinking and critical thinking,
  • Communication and interpersonal skills,
  • Self-awareness and empathy,
  • and coping with emotions and stress.

The objective of the life skills education is to help children and adolescents to understand themselves, reach personal satisfaction, live life better, and achieve their goals. This education is essential for the personal and academic development of children and adolescents.

For more information about life skills or to speak to us about our groups or 1:1 intervention, please contact us.

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