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Top 10 skills to teach your kids this summer

By Samana Siddiqui

While we want our kids to relax after a grueling school year, it's important their brains don't turn to mush while school's out.

There are many productive things kids can do, but here is our list of top ten skills they should learn to succeed in school and beyond.

  1. Learn CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation)

"And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people...." (Quran 5:32)

What could be a more useful skill than one that helps preserves life itself? Check out your local Red Cross to find out where and when the next CPR class is being offered.

  1. Better Time management

How and what we spend our time on determines our success and failure in this life and the Next. This is why time management is such an essential skill for everyone. There are great resources online, in books, and through ecourses that can help. An internet search under “time management for kids” provides many resources and ideas.

  1. Cooking

Both boys and girls should know how to boil and fry an egg, make macaroni and cheese, and bake a pizza safely. But beyond that, knowing how to cook is a great skill once your kids have to leave the nest and begin life sans home cooking. Moreover, with the amount of chemicals and questionable ingredients found in so many foods on the market today, knowing how to cook is a healthier option as well.

  1. Sewing

This is a great money saving skill to learn. Knowing how to sew a button and mend is the minimum kids should learn. Beyond that, they can design and make their own clothes if they're really eager, or even household items like curtains, slipcovers, etc.

  1. Writing a letter to the editor

This teaches assertiveness, clarity in thought, and basic writing skills all in one. All it requires is being able to write simple English. Find an article that your child feels strongly about in the local newspaper. Discuss it first, then put your thoughts down on paper. Then help him or her compose a letter to the editor and send it off. If it gets published, post it up on the fridge!

  1. Writing a business letter

Teaching your child how to write a business letter is simple, and your son or daughter will thank you for it once he or she reaches college and the workplace. You can find samples online, but one great reference book is Writing Business Letters for Dummies by Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts. Once you've looked at a couple of samples, practice writing one. For instance, have your high schooler write to a teacher requesting a recommendation letter for college.

  1. Swimming

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, emphasized teaching children how to swim. It is not only great exercise and fun, but it could also save your life. Check out your local park district or gym for lessons.

  1. Managing money

Help your kids avoid problems like debt, impulsive shopping, and overspending by teaching them money management skills this summer. If you already don't, start giving your child a weekly allowance. Then, help him or her draft a budget of how to spend and save. Also, make sure they give to charity.

  1. Keeping house

This means overseeing the efficient functioning of your home. Make your older children in charge of managing meals, getting laundry done, mowing the lawn, and keeping the place clean for one week. Parents and other siblings are helpers. This will give your kids an appreciation of how hard it is to run a household, as well as training for the job in the future. It will also teach them valuable leadership skills, as well as the importance of teamwork.

  1. Volunteering for a cause

Giving and not receiving any monetary return is a skill critical in our increasingly materialistic culture. Assess your child's skills, talents, and interests, and find a volunteer opportunity for him or her this summer. Some ideas include: helping peace and justice groups; helping younger kids learn English; making and delivering meals to an elderly person who cannot get out much; writing articles for a non-profit organization's website or helping with its technical aspects; answering phone calls, etc. 


Your Comments

Belal, Egypt - wrote on 6/28/2011 3:30:32 PM
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Comment: Greaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat Article. I'm keeping it for a future use. ;)


Belal, Egypt - wrote on 6/28/2011 3:29:59 PM
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Comment: Greaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat Article. I'm keeping it for a future use. ;)


Faridah Namutebi, Uganda- East Africa - wrote on 6/29/2006 7:33:35 AM
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Comment: Impressive piece this is. I am certain any a parent who has come across this article, is anxious to implement


G. Taylor, San Francisco - wrote on 1/27/2005 2:32:02 PM
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Comment: Thank you. You describe an excellent set of skills for any kid to learn. And if they come back home after college, maybe we can get some work out of them!


Asmahan Ahmed, Kuwait - wrote on 6/28/2004 4:18:01 PM
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Comment: The summer life skills listed for children and teens made for interesting reading and implemention. Helping at home, and in the outer community, helps build bridges from one's self to others beyond the family. Children should feel concern for people outside the family, as well. This is very important in the West. Might I also suggest the teaching and practice of etiquette for our children - both cultural and Islamic. Confidence and etiquette are skills that can build good character for a life time. As a parent, I taught and continue to enforce good manners to all three of my children from a very young age. Insha Allah, it will become a part of their chaaracter and give them the competitive edge they will call on frequently as they reach adulthood.


KASHIF USMAN, quetta,pakistan - wrote on 6/18/2004 1:06:06 AM
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Comment: Its really interesting and very helpful skills for espacially for summer vacations. THANKS-Kashif Usman


Dr.Gualm M.Khan, New York - wrote on 6/11/2004 6:27:48 AM
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Comment: Great article for parents. I shall try for my four kids. God bless you,.Keep writing Gulam M. Khan


Tammy Najjar, Riverside, CA - wrote on 6/10/2004 11:32:43 AM
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Comment: Great ideas that I plan to implement for my 17 year old son!


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