5 Essential Life Skills To Teach Your Child

by Farida Haji

Dear parent,

Are you tired of screaming at your kids for simple tasks?

Then sighing out of frustration because you have to drag them forcefully and watch them complete their task? If only they could do it in the first place with a smile on their faces.

Instead of lashing out at your children, teach them these life skills.

5 Essential Life Skills

1. Decision-making

Decision-making starts from the moment we realize we have a choice. We introduce options to our children — an apple or a banana, a chocolate or a sweet — and as they grow up, the options get more complex and difficult. 


Father Teaches His Daughter

As parents or primary caregivers, it is our prerogative to help them make better choices from the mind and heart, and hone their decision-making skills. You can help them to:

  •  Identify the problem;
  •  Explore options;
  •  Compare pros and cons;
  •  Plan your action; and
  •  Gauge consequences.

Follow up with providing guidance to support your child in making the right decisions.

2. Maintaining Health and Hygiene

Cleanliness is essential to our practices, not just for our prayers, but for a healthy life. Rather than commanding them to perform certain tasks, explain why they need to do it.  

حَدَّثَنَا هِشَامُ بْنُ عَمَّارٍ، حَدَّثَنَا صَدَقَةُ بْنُ خَالِدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عُتْبَةُ بْنُ أَبِي حَكِيمٍ، حَدَّثَنِي طَلْحَةُ بْنُ نَافِعٍ أَبُو سُفْيَانَ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي أَبُو أَيُّوبَ الأَنْصَارِيُّ، وَجَابِرُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، وَأَنَسُ بْنُ مَالِكٍ، أَنَّ هَذِهِ الآيَةَ، نَزَلَتْ ‏{فِيهِ رِجَالٌ يُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَتَطَهَّرُوا وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ}‏ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏”‏ يَا مَعْشَرَ الأَنْصَارِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَثْنَى عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الطُّهُورِ فَمَا طُهُورُكُمْ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا نَتَوَضَّأُ لِلصَّلاَةِ وَنَغْتَسِلُ مِنَ الْجَنَابَةِ وَنَسْتَنْجِي بِالْمَاءِ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ هُوَ ذَلِكَ فَعَلَيْكُمُوهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Abu Sufyan said:

“Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari, Jabir bin ‘Abdullah, and Anas bin Malik told me that when this Verse: “In it (the mosque) are men who love to clean and to purify themselves. And Allah loves those who make themselves clean and pure.” was revealed, the Messenger of Allah said: ‘O Ansar! Allah has praised you for your cleanliness. What is the nature of your cleanliness?’ They said: ‘We perform ablution for prayer and we take bath to cleanse ourselves of impurity due to sexual activity, and we clean ourselves with water (after urinating). He said: ‘This is what it is. So adhere to it.'”

[Sunan Ibn Majah 355]

This is definitely a challenge, the foundation of which needs to be strong. Once the habits are established, you will have one less thing to worry about. Create a task table, or allocate timings for certain tasks, and let them see you perform the task as well.

Actions speak louder than words, so introduce your children to the following habits when appropriate:

  • Practise good dental hygiene and brush regularly, at least twice a day.

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ يُوسُفَ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنَا مَالِكٌ، عَنْ أَبِي الزِّنَادِ، عَنِ الأَعْرَجِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ لَوْلاَ أَنْ أَشُقَّ عَلَى أُمَّتِي ـ أَوْ عَلَى النَّاسِ ـ لأَمَرْتُهُمْ بِالسِّوَاكِ مَعَ كُلِّ صَلاَةٍ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “If I had not found it hard for my followers or the people, I would have ordered them to clean their teeth with Siwak for every prayer.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari 887]

  • Perform wudhu with the right mannerisms (arkaan).
  • Bathe (ghusul) and clean yourself thoroughly after urinating or defecating.
  • Remove pubic and armpit hair once every 40 days.
  • Clip nails regularly.
  • Maintain a good appearence, wear clean and washed underwear and garments.
  • Encourage use of attar, especially on Fridays.
  • Being mindful while sneezing and coughing.
  • Promote healthy eating habits and practices.
  • Maintain cleanliness around the house, refrain from littering the streets.

3. Time Management

“Wait a minute”, “give me 5 minutes”, “later!” and other such phrases are common responses we’ve heard from our children. Time management is not only reading the clock and getting things done on time. It’s organizing, planning and executing tasks at a scheduled period. The simplest example would be to pray on time!      

Mother Planning with her Child

These are a few ways to teach your children the value of time and planning:

  • Make simple calendars (individual and family) and fill them together
  • Prioritise tasks and reward them for timely actions
  • For children who love technology, add kid-friendly organisational apps to their gadgets to make it a fun exercise.
  • Communicate gently for best results

4. Financial Literacy

We see numbers everywhere. However, how many of us realize the importance of numbers in our lives? Introduce the understanding of money from an early age, so when they start earning they can deal with money rationally.

Do not start from when they turn one. Instead, gradually as they understand calculations, introduce basic money matters to your child:

  • The concept of savings from an early age.
  • Talk about Zakat and Charity.
  • Talk about earning halal money.
  • Discuss how we deal with interest (riba).

Have conversations about the Islamic nature of handling finance and allow them to manage and use money. This can be difficult, but not impossible.

5. Survival Chores

Oh yes! This has to be the most important one. The umpteen number of times we see clothes thrown on the floor and the dishes left in the sink. It is definitely something our children need to realize, that we will not be there to pick up after them for the rest of their lives.

Teach them the following survival skills before it’s too late:

  • Make time to teach and direct your child to do age-appropriate tasks.
  • Teach them to prep meals; not an entire dining menu yet, but enough to make themselves a sandwich or an egg, or pour themselves a glass of milk and cereal.
  • Teach them first aid and quick response when they hurt themselves.
  • Teach them to clean up after themselves, make their bed, switch off the lights, and put away their laundry.
  • Teach them about budgeting and buying items.
  • Teach them about fixing things around and about the house.
  • Encourage them to be of service to people in need of help.

It may seem like a lot. However, take a back seat and think of your child as a little human, a Muslim brother or sister you are raising. Think of your teachings and imparting knowledge as a service to Allah. Not only will it make your parental journey easy, but it will make your path to Jannah blissful! Inshallah.