Life skills: what we have learned by NOT going to school or into the office

Our skillsets have changed in the upside down. We have re-evaluated priorities and value a different kind of work life balance. Although some struggle to find that happy place, they might be facing issues: mental, physical anxiety; poor performance at school/home/work; unwarranted aches, pains, nightmares, lack of sleep; lost appetite, overeating; malaise, sadness, hostility; distancing from family but not the social distancing we have been maintaining.  

The lucky ones have discovered a sense of calm around less socialization and limited live interaction. Commutes have been decreased or canceled, equating to a re-assessment of time spent with family. Parents often said they had little quality time with their children: suddenly there were less distractions and a need to fill free time with their kids.

Have we lost the aptitude to truly interact during an in-person conversation?  Did we forget how to mix and mingle, or make spontaneous decisions?  What about how children share their toys, a cell phone or hold open a door for others? With interaction primarily limited to virtual playdates and Zoom meetings, we’ve adapted to mastering new ways of sharing ideas, networking with colleagues, playing with classmates, even maintaining a level of intimacy. 

Working parents and home school supervisors have been navigating virtual classrooms and daily work schedules, implementing alternative methodologies for improved multi-tasking. Using these types of time management experiences as a learning opportunity, the grown-up teaches life skills to youngsters in their charge. Living within the confines of stringent time constraints and strict scheduling, our re-established routines enable us to better manage schedules, errands, and shared responsibilities within the home. Adults are sharing daily responsibilities with children, creating teaching moments around task completion and accountability. Those at home can practice listening skills, and not just around the dinner table, allowing all of us to develop and maintain supportive relationships. 

Adults are sharing life skill moments with their children: what six feet apart looks like to safely practice social distancing during high-risk activity play dates; teaching alternative methods of coping so their emotional state remains in check; practice interaction with teachable moments on how to share, get along and listen; encouraging out of box thinking when looking for solutions:

  • Basic first aid, fire safety, simple home repairs, automobile maintenance
  • Home economic: cooking, baking, laundry, budgets and savings
  • Encourage new activities: learn an instrument, play new games,  
  • Teachable moments that challenge learning, enhance adaptability

We are developing life skills around focus, improved communications, and improving creative problem-solving. If another crisis causes a future shift, youngsters will make different choices around education and career path. The homeschooling adult can practice casual conversations that develop interviewing skills and learns how to contribute to group discussions. Equipped with critical thinking skills, young adults can overcome conversational issues that require new ways of interacting, teaching ways to discern and respond to someone else’s values and habits.

The Pandemic has changed tomorrow’s workplace for today’s youngsters, therefore children and adolescents should: 

  • Identify alternative skills and resources they might need to do their job better. 
  • Be comfortable with advanced functionality while practicing communication skills across multiple platforms.
  • Remember that empathy works both ways as conditions are changing while we all embrace change. 
  • Always adapt to remain functional while seeking new challenges, opportunities and ways to collaborate. 
  • Self-motivate, inspire others and face uncertainty with emotional intelligence to improve business intelligence

Babies and toddlers interact with parents and caregivers; youngsters thrive in an environment shared with their peers; adolescents prosper in social settings that challenge the cognitive ability to discern right from wrong. While these lessons seem simple, children are sponges that adapt to change. We don’t know long-term Pandemic effects, we do know that quality life skills improve a child’s capability for self-reliance.

Posted in Our Thoughts.

Sharon Miller-Trackman

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