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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 Òtime management for kidsÓ 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. 

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