Why do I need the to know the 10 basic life skills parents need to teach their children?

Well I know you’ve heard these stories before:

  • That kid is book smart but not street smart.
  • The student who excelled in high school but dropped out of college because he didn’t know how to independently manage his time.
  • Highly intelligent adults who stumble through life because they never learned how to manage money and stay out of debt.
  • The adult, that still goes to their parents house to get their laundry done or a home cooked meal because they never was taught those skills.

A recent study by the online security company AVG Technologies found that while 58 percent of 3- to 5-year-olds in the U.S. can navigate a smartphone, fewer than one out of six (15 percent) could make their own breakfast. 

Our primary focus as parents tends to be on how well our kids do in school or how they behave. Which is all great. But without these 10 basic life skills to teach to kids that are listed below, even the most well-educated adult will find himself at a disadvantage in both the workplace and life. And the saddest part about this is that most schools have taking these basic life skills out of their curriculum.



Family cooking dinner — Image by © Steve Cicero/Corbis

Even the youngest children can learn how to prepare a meal in the kitchen. We’re not talking about a five-course dinner, of course, but you can teach preschoolers how to fix a sandwich and mixing ingredients and elementary school kids can be taught how to use the microwave. And from tots to teens, your kids can be your personal chefs.

Plus, home-cooked meals are often less expensive than prepared foods. So adults who know how to cook also have the ability to keep their food budgets in check. Let me just say this, I didn’t learn how to cook until after I had kids. Because of that, I would eat out every day and my wallet definitely suffered and so did my health at times.

My nephew Caleb (3) loves beating the eggs when we make breakfast


Picture from bckonline.com

If you have kids, then you have a lot of laundry. Teaching your children how to wash, fold and put away their laundry is not only a life skill that will help them, it will also help you.

Toddlers can learn how to sort clothes and as they grow, kids can start putting the clothes in the washer and transferring them to the dryer. Elementary school children can then learn how to operate the washing machine and dryer and how much laundry detergent is needed. Pretty soon, you’ll have teens that can do their own laundry. The last thing you want is your adult child, dropping off their clothes for you to wash LOL.


Picture from Greatschool.org

Let’s face it, there are many adults who could still learn a thing or two about time management. Not only does teaching younger children how to measure time, stay on task and keep to a schedule help make your days easier, learning this life skill also helps them become masters of time so they can do everything from getting up on schedule to ​someday getting to work on time.


Picture from todaysparent.com

Other than education, nothing will ensure kids success as an adult than teaching them to be money-savvy. Teach your kids effective money management so they can learn how to save, spend wisely, make change, and understand that writing a check or using a credit card isn’t free money.

Learn more about how you can ensure your child is money-savvy in the future with these tips: WHAT PARENTS SHOULD BE DOING TO ENSURE THEIR CHILD HAS A GOOD FINANCIAL START


Picture from The Kitchn

It’s important for us to teach our kids how to keep the house clean, which they’ll eventually need to know when they leave for college and someday have a house of their own to take care of. And let’s face it – this will pay off for your kids later in life when they have roommates or get married. Because no one wants to live with a slob (like my husband LOL!)

Start with age-appropriate chore charts that include learning how to make the bed, empty the dishwasher and dust. Also, think of the daily messes your kids make and how they can clean up after themselves.

Download my free chore charts for your kids by clicking on the picture below:


Picture from Growing Up Bilingual

Kids love to be your big helper and there’s always light maintenance around the house that they can pitch in to do.

Easy tasks include showing them how to change the toilet paper roll or bag up the trash. Older children can learn how to change a light bulb, unclog a drain and change, the vacuum cleaner bag.

As they become teens, you can teach them even more like how to mow the lawn, tend to the garden, nail and drill things.


Picture from Simplemost

As parents, we tend to place our children’s orders at restaurants just to make things easier on the server. However, letting our kids order for themselves is fun for them and builds confidence.

Many restaurants have picture menus on the kids’ menu so preschoolers can begin by circling or coloring what they want to eat.

As that confidence grows, kids can begin verbally telling the server what they would like, from the entrée to the sides.


Picture from pediatricassociates.com

Your kids are never too young to begin learning about health and hygiene. Explain why health and hygiene are always going to be crucial parts of their days. 

Teach kids how to be mindful of their own body odor. My 5yr old daughter will come up to me and say “Mom, I need to brush my teeth, it stinks LOL” If your child’s underarms are smelly, don’t just tell them to go shower, allow them to sniff it for themselves so they can start checking on their own.

Preschool kids can begin in the bath. Get rid of those toys in the bath tub and hand them a towel! Teach them how to wipe themselves. Of course you’re going to still need to do it as well while they are still learning. But if you start at this age, they can be properly wiping themselves by the time they make it to kindergarten.

School aged kids as early as K4 can begin learning how to shower. My step son is only 5 and he prefers showers over baths. Teach them how to wipe themselves, how to hold the towel and the soap, how to lather up the towel, etc. Transitioning them from the bath to the shower is important because most college campuses and high school gyms only have showers!


Picture from Hudson Valley Magazine

Making good decisions is a life skill every child should begin learning at a young age.

Begin with basic decisions like chocolate versus vanilla ice cream, blue socks or white socks, playing trains or playing cars. When kids reach elementary school age they can begin learning about the rewards of good decisions and the consequences of bad decisions.


Picture from parents.com

I remember being a teenager and my mom went out to the store leaving me and my older sister in charge of the younger ones. While she was gone, one of the younger ones got cut on something and it was bleeding bad. My older sister and I freaked out! It took us a minute to calm down before we actually began helping.

For that reason, teach your child from a young age not to freak out when he or she sees blood (and don’t overreact yourself). Giving them a game plan will distract them from the pain and come in handy when you’re not around to assist: Apply pressure until the bleeding stops, rise the cut with water, dab on some antibiotic ointment, then apply a bandage.

I would even throw in getting your teenagers certified in CPR. My little brother swallowed my mother’s toe ring when I was watching him and I had not a clue what I was doing! Luckily a bunch of heavy back pats resolved the issue but that may not be the case all the time.

I hope you find these tips helpful in teaching your kids the “Need to know” skills for life!

If you need anymore tips on promoting independence and confidence in children, Check out my pinterest board:

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