Knowledge for children
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Knowledge for children: 5 must-have tools for life

Providing valuable knowledge for children can be a bit exhausting for parents with so much information coming at them from all corners. While children learn naturally from the world around them, it is easy for them to get caught up in routines at home doing chores, playing games, watching videos and learning manners. At the same time, important knowledge for children to have in the real world may not be taught at home.

They enter the school system facing problems in several areas. Children struggle with lessons such as understanding math problems and passages that deal with everyday events. They are subject to ridicule by peers who have enough common knowledge to carry on conversations based on a wide range of topics. Making friends is a challenge and the mental health of children declines as these factors are triggers for stress in children at school. Here are 5 areas for children to know to function in the real world.

Top 5 areas of knowledge for children to have

1. Family history

An individual must know the answer to the question, “Who are you?” This question follows you throughout your entire life and the answer is dependent on your situation. At school you write essays about family members, draw a family tree and talk about family history. As you grow older and introduce yourself to new people, you tie this information to your own traits, personality and interests.

At a hospital, you focus on the medical history of your family to explain your health concerns to a doctor. In interviews for college or a job, you speak about your accomplishments and goals which are sometimes connected to those of your family. When you are a senior citizen, you tell your grandchildren stories about their family history which now includes your life story.

The family history is valuable knowledge for children to learn. Educate your children about the names and relations of immediate, extended and deceased family members. Create photo albums that tell stories about both sides of the child’s family and make them interesting. Even where there is conflict with family members, include them in the albums and find subtle ways to explain the reason they are no longer around.

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2. Current events

Children will know what is happening around them no matter how much you try to protect them. They may not understand or know how to respond but they will learn about natural disasters, violence, abuse, romance, diseases and state emergencies. Information comes to them via social media, movies, music and conversations among adults. They may be sent away by their parents who believe negative news is not appropriate for them, but leaving them guessing can be a bit counterproductive.

According to Parentingforbrain, “Parents’ brains are wired to protect their offspring. But when taken to the extremes and the level of risks do not match the extent of protection, overprotection will do more harm than good.” Children who are overprotected by parents tend to worry and have anxiety, lack coping skills, have social anxiety and phobia, display a fear of failure, suffer from depression and psychological wellbeing, develop low self-esteem and self-motivation, become a bullying target, be indecisive, feel a sense of entitlement and maladaptive narcissism, have health problems as teenagers and become delinquents.

Allow your children to learn about current events and talk to them about the positive and negative news. Kidshealth recommends that you ask your kids questions to see if they know about a current event, consider your child’s age and development and follow your child’s lead. Tell the truth, but share only as much as your child needs to know. Listen carefully and admit when you don’t know the answer. Encourage your child to talk, urge teens to look beyond a news story, and teach your children to be prepared and not to panic. Talk about what you can do to help and put news stories in context. Decide what and how much news is appropriate for your child. Keep tabs on the amount of difficult news your child hears and set limits. Watch the news with your child, talk about current events and watch for stress. Learning how to cope with news is valuable knowledge for children to have.

Comprehensive up-to-date local and international news, aggregated from sources all over the world by Google News.

3. Historical events

Children must be taught that the world is everchanging. Historical events, people, objects, disasters, cultures, music, fashion and discoveries are very important knowledge for children to possess. Many adults make fun of their children on social media with videos displaying their ignorance of rotary phones, records and cassettes. While viewers may find the mockery entertaining, it should be a lesson for parents to see the value in teaching history to their young ones.

According to Historians, history helps us to understand people and societies, change and how the society we live in came to be. We learn the importance of history in our own lives and how it contributes to moral understanding. This provides identity and is essential for good citizenship. A child who learns history develops the ability to assess evidence, conflicting interpretations and gains experience in assessing past examples of change. Knowledge of history is very useful in the world of work as children grow with an understanding of how things work around them.

Provide historical knowledge for children using a source such as BBC that offers lessons in the categories Ancient History, World History, British History, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Hands on History. Teach fun facts and social studies with History for Kids on Egypt, Greece, Rome, World Wars, Middle Ages, Asia, China and America. Discover fascinating history facts from across the globe with National Geographic Kids. Some popular headlines are based on the Olympics, Alan Turing an extraordinary mathematician, International Women’s Day, Anglo-Saxon, British Empire, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Mary Seacole and Aboriginal Australian culture.

4. Economics

We are all consumers of goods and services making economics valuable knowledge for children to have. As they enter a family, they learn on their own that food and household items come from a grocery, they obtain clothing and shoes from the stores at the mall or online, and their parents may not have enough money to purchase expensive toys for them. Based on the information presented and their limited understanding of economics, children may fill in the gaps with trivial reasons for why they cannot have the same things as other children.

In an article called Why Teach Economics, it states that the problem is we don’t have enough resources to have everything we want. So, we have to choose how to use our resources, and recognising that using a resource for one thing means not using it for something else. In Social Sciences, economics is essential in any study of the human experience. No incident can be thoroughly explained without examining the motives of the actors, the incentives that drove them, their goals, and the reasons that they took the actions they did as opposed to alternative actions. Knowledge of economics helps us to analyse the past, understand the present, make informed personal decisions, develop financial wisdom, and prepare for the future.

Teach your young ones the subject of Economics from at home. Speak to them about “needs” being the goods and services used to survive and “wants” being things that are used to improve their way of life when you have excess resources. Explain how production provides goods and services to satisfy needs and wants and that the factors of production land, labour and capital can be provided either directly doing it by yourself or indirectly with the help of others.

Show your children how to start a kitchen garden and let them see the prices at the supermarket for the same goods that they have produced. Compare your utility bills highlighting that electricity and water are necessities whereas internet and cable are luxuries. Talk about being a homeowner versus renting with your children. Teach them how to be thrifty, let them learn how to save money, explain how the banking system works and the importance of having good credit. Explore different career paths, potential incomes, standards of living and the necessary education and skills that are required. This information is valuable knowledge for children and should be taught from as early as possible.

5. Vocabulary

Give children the gift of gab from young to survive in this world. Language is a powerful tool given to human beings for communication and when used proficiently by speakers, only greatness is accomplished. Children with a wide vocabulary are confident learners in the classroom. They read and understand comprehension passages better, become critical thinkers, ask and answer questions during sessions, explain themselves clearly, elaborate with examples and stand up for themselves when opposed by anyone.

According to Scholastic, “Language is not just talk. Prominent psychologists, such as Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, recognised the importance of the relationship between language and thought. In other words, children use words as a way to understand important concepts… children need to build a vocabulary store of at least 2,500 words per year… Those who acquire a substantial vocabulary are often able to think more deeply, express themselves more clearly, and actually learn new things more quickly. This knowledge builds more knowledge, and more word power.” Children gain “knowledge about their world and the language to communicate with others”.

Expose your children to new words daily through conversations, games, asking questions and trying to lead by example as much as possible. Educate yourself with new words and then slip them in when you communicate with your children. They will gather the meaning of words from the context they were used. Bring out the word board games or apps such as Pictionary, Scrabble, Charades, Text Twists, Bookworm and AlphaBetty. Use this exciting Synonyms and Antonyms video that challenges your knowledge on 300 everyday words. Make learning words a fun family event to help your children to develop a vocabulary to become articulate speakers.

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