This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

Parents Panel: What's one life skill every kid should have?

Budgeting, cooking and how to share your toys – our panel weigh in.

parents-panel-banner-final1.1 - Copy Source:

AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way.

As a parent, it can sometimes be tempting to lead our kids by the hand, to complete tasks for them or to do the talking for them, because it makes life easier for everyone involved. But part of raising a child to be a confident, independent adult is giving them the space to do things for themselves – and teaching them new skills along the way.

Those ‘things’ could be as practical as learning to make the bed or as complex as figuring out how to navigate a new social situation.

This week, we ask our panel:

What’s one life skill every kid should learn?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7 - Copy - Copy - Copy Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly Source:

Good manners!: Having good manners can get you far in both your personal and professional life. Myself and my wife always say “please and thank you” to each other, so it’s easy to pass that down to our son. And as kids tend to emit a variety of “windy noises”, we have taught him to always say “excuse me” too. However, there are times when he’s learned that lesson only too well, and will tell strangers to take their elbows off the table or tell them to say “excuse me” if they burp!

- Olly Keegan

Staying in budget and managing money: When my two older kids (17 and 22) started their first teenage part time jobs, they were both told to contribute something to the household bills. No matter how small their wages were they had to contribute something. I hope that approach taught them about the value of money and learning how to budget, which is something they will have to do when to go out to the real world.

- Denise Cumiskey 

shutterstock_270716675 Source: Shutterstock/Daniel Jedzura

How to understand your own emotions (something I didn’t figure out until adulthood): One of the important things I want my kids to develop is emotional intelligence. I grew up with no real appreciation or understanding of my own feelings. It wasn’t until I met my wife that my emotional intelligence started to grow, and for that I will be eternally grateful.  

I’d like my kids to grow up to embrace their emotional states and not fall victim to them. For example, when you’re tired, your emotions can be all over the place. An emotionally intelligent person will know they’re tired and how that is affecting them, rather than just knowing they’re feeling ‘cross’ and carrying on with ‘cross feelings’. That understanding is key.

- Alan Dooley 

How to share with other people: We’re teaching sharing right now, and it can be challenging! Charlie does seem to love people in general and we want him to be able to get along well with others and make friends. Sharing toys and taking turns is sort of the first step.

- Kait Quinn

shutterstock_262577114 (1) Source: Shutterstock

Cooking and cleaning for yourself: On a practical level, I want Tymek and Frankie to become independent adults who can look after themselves, and who can cook, wash, be financially smart and use basic tools. On an emotional level, I think perseverance is very important.

- Marta Lisiecka

How to make your own choices: Parenting is all about trying to support a rounded development for our children, but if I had to limit it to one thing I’d say the confidence to make their own decisions. Of course I’d love to throw in the ability to cycle a bike, swim and have fun too…

- Denise 

The ability to protect yourself from harm: The ability to keep yourself safe from harm is a skill I would prioritise for my kids. I am a krav maga instructor and over time I’ve learnt that the best defence is not forged with muscle or kick-ass skill (although that definitely helps), but with awareness of your surroundings and of yourself.

Sadly, we live in a far more dangerous world than the one I grew up in. I want my kids to realise that there is no shame in walking away from a potential fight (quite often the best defence), but to also have the skills to defend themselves if they ever have to.

- Ken Hyland 

Want to win a pair of stylish (and screen-friendly) specs from Henshaw Eyewear? Enter here – and don’t forget to subscribe to our Family Newsletter using the subscription box below!

More Parents Panel: What’s the one dinner everyone in your house will eat?>

More Parents Panel: What age did you find most challenging with your kids?>

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

About the author:

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel