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5 basic skills you must teach your child, before the world teaches them wrong.

Updated on October 31, 2012

The poor kid in the perambulator had five coaches. Thank goodness I had a dad too, and five good buddies.

Our bodies, as seen here, are all different. But our bodies in general all work the same.
Our bodies, as seen here, are all different. But our bodies in general all work the same. | Source

There is time for really cool stuff later. These are basics

There are indeed many things to teach a young person. But here are five critical skills you must teach a child before sending them to preschool. You may be surprised that alphabets, numbers, rudimentary reading, and obedience are not among them. When a child goes to preschool they should learn such things, and chances are they will learn them correctly. But some things are left to chance and those should be developed prior to your child learning them the wrong way. Sometimes it is nice to be a winner or at least a competitor where kids rule. I can assure you that a good preschool will not necessarily have someone on board to teach these skills properly but they are essential for self esteem and fun. Do not let anyone fool you into thinking that it is ok not to do these with some competence. Do not let anyone convince you that these are just natural gifts. No matter how talented you are get someone else to participate in the learning, I like 20 somethings. And they love it. And they bond over it and that is a great gift.

Now I grew up at 7.2 thousand feet elevation, breathing was not ignored.

Throwing. Each hand separately in both overhand and underhand. Both hands overhead and granny style. I admit, I learned with rocks and clumps of dirt, pinecones and snowballs. This is huge for right brain left brain coordination, and it will help you determine which arm is dominant or not. Softball, volleyball, basketball, big balls all require this skill and are popular, not to mention the dreaded dodgeball. These fun games and doing them properly from home is a huge head start for a child’s socialization and self esteem. And if you leave it to the other kids – OMG.

Kicking. Not so good to kick someone else, but to be able to kick a ball far and in the right direction just feels good to anyone. I have a 24 year old nephew that just goes out back and kicks as hard as he can to get out the frustration of the day. Soccer is just such a healthy sport, learning teamwork is essential and in tiny person soccer there is just no better way to introduce working together and not alone. I think it might be one of those “babies can swim” deals. My two year old can dribble while all the while giggling.

Hitting something with a stick. The hand eye coordination needed to do this well, and the hand grip and body position are not all that difficult. But should be overseen so as not to develop wrongly. My current little guy really likes golf type hitting, and swinging at a pitched ball is a lot of work for me. But think about it, tennis, golf, t-ball, base and soft ball, croquet, cricket and best of all Pinata’s are all great activities that stem from this activity. I do not like swordfights so much but they can be made safe, and my favorite is pillows.

Running. It seems these days that almost everyday that we go out for a fun run around the block my little guy runs a different goofy way. Weird hand positions and duck foot and pigeon toed. Too much all up on his toes and not enough rolling of the foot or some herky jerky knee motions that make mine hurt just watching. I never say “do not” I always just show and say this way. The anatomy of a body is designed to run a certain bilateral healthy way. Do not just assume they will do it right. Learn and teach them properly, and the same for walking. NO it is not cute when they do in their own special way. It can literally cause long term damage.

Breathing. The average American at rest breathes 13 times a minute. That is total tom foolery. A trained athlete of meditator, with no physical training can easily reduce that to 5 times a minute and I have known Monks that go 1 in two minutes for hours. 13 times a minute is like breathing in the top 15 percent of your lungs only, day after day. If you watch a little gal run chances are she comes up to you breathing only from her mouth to the top of her ribs. Oxygen is critical. With a few rare exceptions the body cannot supply the body with too much oxygen. And again with rare exceptions it is lack of oxygen that kills us (death by heart attack is lack of blood which carries oxygen)

I have been teaching this young man to swing, golf and baseball. He was never taught, so he is using a swing sigh, to clear my garden.

In my youth we had so much work to do that every chore became a skill master game.
In my youth we had so much work to do that every chore became a skill master game. | Source

Do not stress doing well for others, stress doing well for yourself, that is the toughest critic.

And so it is that breathing properly and deeply is not taught anywhere. Give this gift to your child. Take my word for it, the appreciation for breathing is your number one best defense against later smoking. Deep and relaxed breathing improves our ability to do any and everything.

There is a holistic approach to all these matters. Slow down and pay attention to how your body works, the way different joints behave differently. Just the act of paying attention and then teaching yourself along with the youngster can help with so many health issues. And it is fun to dance around the back yard when either you or your little one actually kicks the ball into the bucket.

There is one last thing. I hope for you that when your kids get older and you older, when they come home for holidays, you can play catch, or kick the ball together or whatever else you bonded over with your child. I hope you can start the practice pre pre-school and stay with it and grow with your child.

I tried to keep this gender neutral. When my brother was thirteen some nimrod advised him, “for mothers’ day just get your mom a gift that you would like to get” ?? Of course he gave her a baseball glove. I do not think my mother ever threw a thing in sport, unless you count a skillet for forgetting her anniversary after 6 children.

I was lucky, I was on some scholarships and I was on some championship teams. And I have made a living in sports. But the best athletic achievement I ever had was down at the old pond, where I had learned to ice skate and swim. We had collected enough crawdads for eating, we had fished with no luck, Emily and Jody had come by, as Emily and I walked along the shore, I took my grape steak slat and knocked a rock clear to the other side of the pond. Emily told the world. And I was on top of that world.

Give our little ones the time to give them some good feelings about themselves. It does not matter if they are dorky or awkward, they are not to themselves, and if they think they are champions in your eyes WoW!!


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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I am very sorry I missed this comment earlier. It is very important and thank you for it. Winning is simply a byproduct that is not always reflective of being better. But it is exactly your experiences that need not happen. Learning the skills well prevent your problems. Especially when the learning emphasizes respect and kindness and that helping others is good. You simply cannot sit in a chair and learn respect and kindness, and in a field of play they are best displayed.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Q. I ain't got much but I got love. It is a pleasure getting to know you here in hubland.

    • Quirinus profile image

      Queirdkus Ω Ibidem 

      5 years ago from Sitting on the Rug

      A hub with a lot of love for children shining through. ... and twists of humor too!

      It seems like even without formal training, we learn to apply principles of learning and development from being loving persons.

      Thanks for the great read, Eric. Voted up.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Ericdierker

      I hated team sports. Too much importance was put on winning. Being screamed at all the time for missing the ball certainly was not good for my confidence and self esteem. I will never forget the time I was deliberately hit in the face with a dodge ball. Teaching children to treat others with respect and kindness is something I think should be taught first before teaching them how to properly play a sport.

      Have a good evening :)

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      6 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Right on Christopher, sometimes I do not know who grows more when there is activity.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Some great advice there. Sadly some parents don't really take an interest in the development of their children and both parties miss out then.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      6 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Nagging may be necessary until told it is not. That is a very cool product of the process --- boundaries.

    • tamarawilhite profile image

      Tamara Wilhite 

      6 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      You're right. Striving to improve your performance benefits yourself and those around you. Endlessly critiquing others doesn't help you do better and can lead others to avoid you as a nag.


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