Practical knowledge is also known as common sense or street smarts and refers to things that every person should know by the time they reach adulthood. It is distinct from academic learning and below are some tips to enhance the practical knowledge of your child.

The Importance of Good Judgment

Once children have learned basic math, the alphabet and how to read and write, they next have to learn how to use this knowledge to develop good judgment, which is also referred to as wisdom. Having good judgment is closely related to practical knowledge because it is designed to keep them out of serious trouble when they become adults.

It isn’t enough for children to do well in school, college or university. In fact, the prisons and cemeteries are full of people that did well in school but didn’t master practical skills or develop sound judgment.  Even if someone graduates with an advanced degree, if they lack practical knowledge or good judgment, they could inevitably destroy their own lives or the lives of others. Examples of practical knowledge or good judgment include:

  • Learning how to recognize and avoid bad people and places
  • Identifying dangerous animals, their locations and habits
  • Learning how to listen carefully to what is being said
  • Being able to differentiate between good and bad investments
  • Learning social cues and how to interact with people
  • Being careful with or avoiding substances that are flammable or toxic
  • Learning how to control anger, arrogance, lust and greed

Many of the things above are not subjects that can be taught in school. These are street skills that parents or caretakers must instill at an early age, and if they fail to do so the consequences for the child can become dire when they become adults. While many societies give females a bit of leeway, males in particular must learn these skills at an early age as society will have less patience and tolerance with them once they reach manhood.

How To Teach Children Practical Knowledge

The key to developing practical knowledge in children is to get them to learn how to listen to their conscience, that small voice in their head that is warning them of when they’re doing something wrong. For instance, when your child gets into trouble for doing something they shouldn’t have done, you can ask them did they get nervous feelings about it beforehand.

Your conscience will often warn you of when you’re headed down a wrong path, or about to do something you shouldn’t do, but many people choose to ignore it. Children must be taught not to ignore their conscience and to instead get into the habit of listening to it. If something doesn’t feel right, that means it probably isn’t.

​Another way to develop practical knowledge is to spend more time around adults instead of other children. Research has shown that children who are home schooled rather than sent to public school are more mature, better behaved, and more advanced academically than their peers because they are accustomed to interacting with adults who teach them valuable skills.

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