As a parent, one of your top priorities is to provide your child with all the life skills they’ll need, so they can navigate their adult lives, even after they’re no longer under your care.
On one hand, this seems like a relatively straightforward task. However, on the other hand, it can be one of the most overwhelming duties that a parent will face. First, it can be difficult to determine what “life skills” even are. What skills are going to be the most vital to your child in the future? What should you be focusing on, exactly, as you help your child to build these fundamental skills?
Although the number of potential “life skills” is substantial, and they can vary from child to child, there are some skills that everyone can benefit from mastering. Here are nine of those key skills that are important to teach to just about any kid.
9 Important Life Skills to Teach Children (By Age)
Skills to Teach Preschoolers
Some of the skills you’ll focus on with preschoolers will be performed independently, however, others will require help or supervision from an adult. As your child grows up, they will be able to continue refining these skills, until they can confidently perform them on their own.
1. Cleaning Up
Allow your child to begin cleaning up after themselves, in certain situations. For instance, you can ask your kid to put away and organize their toys after they’re done playing.
2. Choosing Clothes or Outfits
Make sure your child understands how to dress appropriately, given the event or weather. You can even allow them to set out their own outfits each night, to wear to school the next day.
3. Setting the Table
By helping your child to set the table, you’re giving them a great chance to practice numbers, counting, and even symmetry. It’s also an opportunity for your child to develop their procedural and spatial memorization abilities.
Skills to Teach Young Kids, Age Five to Seven
At this age, try to take a step back and allow your child to problem-solve, whenever possible. It can be tempting to step in and lend a hand, but five to seven-year-olds can benefit from learning and practicing some tasks independently. Plus, kids around this age are always eager to perform “grown-up” tasks, and this will show in their willingness to learn and develop skills.
4. Simple Cleaning Duties
Although they’re not ready to clean the whole house top to bottom, you can begin introducing your child to some basic cleaning tasks. For instance, teach them how to wipe down the sink, or how to sort the trash from the recycling.
5. Basic Cooking Skills
You’ll probably need to supervise some, but try involving your child in food preparation. Find ways to allow your kid to take part in preparing their own meals, or help out with family mealtime, whenever possible.
Skills to Teach Older Kids
Finally, here are some more independent or complicated skills, which you can help older children and tweens to develop.
6. Loading the Dishwasher
Kids at this age can help with both loading dirty dishes in the dishwasher, as well as unloading clean ones, and putting dishes away. Help children understand where the dishes belong once clean, and how to load the dirty ones for maximum effectiveness.
Keeping a garden isn’t just a fun hobby — it can teach responsibility and can even provide fresh food! Teaching your children a love of gardening and some basic plant care tips can be an extremely important lifelong skill.
8. Money Management
Budgeting and money management skills are absolutely necessary later on in life, and many people grow up without a basic knowledge of simple household finances. Start young and add in age-appropriate money basics so that your children are able to successfully budget and manage their own finances in adulthood.
9. Personal Hygiene
Sometimes, hygiene can seem so basic, you may not even think to teach your children some of these skills. However, it’s important to help your children understand these basics so they can keep themselves clean and better promote personal health.
Of course, as your child grows up, you’ll find endless opportunities to teach them a variety of life skills (more ideas here). This is really one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of being a parent.