12 old-school skills children should know
School is officially in session. And while kids are constantly learning new skills in the classroom, there are a few tried and true talents we shouldn’t let fall by the wayside. Here are some life skills worth keeping around — no matter how old school they may seem.
1. How to tell time on an analog clock
It might seem silly in the age of alarm clocks and cellphones, but kids should still learn how to tell time on an analog clock. After all, if a power outage hits and your cellphone battery dies, you’ll have another option.
2. How to spell
In this text-addicted world, it’s easy to switch out a “u” for a “you.” Spell check and autocorrect come in handy on your phone, but they don’t replace legit spelling skills. Abbreviations and shortcuts don’t make for scintillating reading on the other end.
3. How to do laundry
How often do college roommates enter dorm life with no real laundry skills? Rectify it early and often by teaching the basics: whites vs. colours, dry cycles, etc.
4. How to mow a lawn
Kids may not use the skill on their own yards for a while, but knowing how to handle a mower can pay off in the way of a summer job or ability to help out a neighbour who isn’t as capable.
5. How to write a thank-you note
Thank-you notes provide that warm fuzzy feeling you get from showing a friend, family member or even a co-worker how much you care — enough to take time out of your own schedule to string together a few thoughts anyway. They’re also a form of respect and acknowledgement we don’t often see in our fast-paced world.
6. How to sew
Every child should get familiar with sewing basics — be it sewing on a button or fixing a hem.
7. How to make change
Children should know how to make change without a calculator or cash machine to guide them.
8. How to wash dishes by hand
Dishwashers are fine and dandy, but even in the 21st-century, kids won’t always have access (ahem, college dorm). They should know the fundamentals of dishwashing by hand: What do you soak, what can you scrub, what’s the best way to air-dry, etc.
9. How to write in cursive
We may type far more than we write longhand these days — and many schools aren’t teaching the practice the way they used to — but cursive writing does have its benefits.
10. How to memorize phone numbers and make calls
Texting may reign supreme these days, but old-school phone manners never go out of style. Kids should know a handful of basic phone numbers as well — parents, siblings, best friends, etc. After all, lost and dead cellphones aren’t things of the past.
11. How to read a map
Every child should know how to read a map (no, Google Maps doesn’t count). Developing a sense of direction becomes a necessary skill when technology fails. Kids should know how to ask for directions, follow the steps and reach their destination.
12. How to tie a tie
Learning how to tie a (good, straight, tight) tie is still a rite of passage. And it never hurts to be able to lend a hand if your buddy happened to miss the lesson.