Inside: Consider these important life skills to teach your kids so that you can help prepare them for adulthood.
We all want to give our children the best opportunities possible. Sometimes it can be a challenge to know how to do that though.
But by teaching your kids important life skills throughout their childhood, you can help prepare them for adulthood.
Parenting is a long process of training and letting go. And in the process, we learn a lot about ourselves.
With the goal of raising kids who will eventually become fully independent adults, we can learn and grow with them as we help prepare them to be fully functioning members of society.
Are you wondering what life skills you need to teach your child to ensure that they have the best opportunities possible ahead of them?
This list of life skills to teach your kids will give you a helpful starting point for areas to focus on as your kids grow up to prepare them for when they are out in the world on their own.
12 Important Life Skills to Teach Your Kids
You want to set up your kids for success in life. Part of doing that is modeling and teaching good habits that they will carry with them into adulthood.
Kids learn more by example than they do by the words we use. As you seek to teach your kids these life skills you may find they are areas you want to work on in your own life.
Perhaps they were never taught or modeled for you growing up. No parent is perfect and you shouldn’t feel bad for wanting to work on any of these life skills.
Thankfully there are a vast number of resources available with blogs and YouTube that can teach you how to hone these life skills together.
Working alongside your child can create memorable moments as you both learn and grow together in mastering these important life skills.
So which skills should you consider starting with? Here are 12 important life skills to teach your kids that will help prepare them for adulthood.
1. How to find information on their own
A great life skill for every person to have is learning how to find information and answers on their own.
When you know how to find good information in books, on the internet, or by talking to someone who knows a lot about a topic, you are setting yourself up for success.
Successful people know how to find out what they want to know even when it’s challenging. An important part of this skill is being able to decipher what is good data and information.
Knowing how to find the answers you’re looking for and developing a love are learning are great skills to have in life.
2. How to manage your time well
Another one of the important life skills to teach your kids is how to manage your time well. Kids will naturally learn some parts of this skill by working to meet deadlines in school and facing the consequences if they don’t.
If procrastination is a problem for you or your child, consider ways you can work on being more proactive to get your tasks done.
By modeling what work-life balance looks like you will help teach your kids how to achieve balance in their own life.
This often means resisting the temptation to overschedule. If that’s a challenge for you it’s helpful for parents to consider simplifying their life for your own benefit as well as your kids.
Learning how to be on time, manage your schedule, and try to balance various aspects of your life is a lifelong skill that’s important for your kids to learn as they grow.
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3. How to cook
Teaching your child how to cook is a great life skill that can help them to save money as well as eat healthier.
If you have your children learn increasing responsibility with cooking and planning meals as they age, they will be well prepared for living on their own.
Not sure where to start? There is a great program called Kids Cook Real Food that will teach your kids how to prepare healthy meals at home.
Keep in mind that cooking isn’t just about cutting and cooking food. It also involves meal planning, creating grocery lists, and shopping for the necessary ingredients.
If your kids do these activities with you regularly they will begin to learn these life skills for themselves.
4. How to do laundry & basic cleaning
If your kids go off to college you don’t want them to get there having no idea how to do their own laundry.
It’s helpful for kids to have chores to help them to learn how to do some of these helpful life skills. By having them regularly help with the laundry, dishes, and cleaning they will be well prepared to do these things in their own place one day.
Getting the whole family involved with spring cleaning not only teaches them how to do specific cleaning tasks, but it also teaches them to do their part in helping to maintain the home.
While teaching your kids to do these life skills will take you more time on the front end, the dividends will pay off as they learn how to contribute to the household and run one of their own in the future.
5. How to manage their own stuff
Are you tired of feeling like you are constantly cleaning up after your kids? Teach them how to be responsible for their own things.
By working on these skills now you will help prepare them for living with a roommate or spouse later in life.
Part of learning to manage their own things isn’t just putting them away, but also decluttering items that they’ve outgrown.
Use the tips in this post to help get your kids to declutter the things they no longer want or use. By learning how to manage your stuff during childhood, you’re giving your kids a gift they can carry with them throughout their life.
This life skill can help prevent them from having a cluttered home in the future.
6. How to do basic home repairs
A great life skill to teach your child is how to do basic home repairs and maintenance.
If you can take care of some of these things on your own you can save money and not have to wait for someone to come to your home. This skill is often overlooked but is a great one of the life skills you give your children.
Teach them how to patch a hole in a wall, replace weather stripping, fix a leaking sink, change a fuse or deal with a flipped breaker, and change household filters.
If bigger repair jobs come up, have them join you while you learn how to do them or how to find an expert that specializes in that area. It’s also important to know your limitations and not take on tasks that you cause a bigger issue or potentially create a safety issue in your home.
Setting an example of how to find the information needed to make these repairs can be a great way to help ensure your child can find anything they need to know.
7. How to do simple car repairs
Just like teaching your child how to do basic home repairs, teaching your child how to do basic things on their car is a valuable life skill.
Knowing how to change a light bulb and check the oil and tire pressure can help them to save some money and keep the car operating safely.
Even if they do not know how to do bigger repairs, simply knowing how things work can help keep them from losing money if an auto shop tells them something needs to be replaced or repaired when it doesn’t.
Anyone that drives a car should know how to do basic maintenance and repairs and know how to go to places like AutoZone to have codes checked if a light comes on on the dashboard.
Teaching your kids not to ignore warnings and to ensure the car regularly gets oil changes and needed maintenance will help keep the car safe and running longer. It can also help prevent more costly repairs in the future.
8. How to manage money
One of the most important skills everyone should know is to know how to manage money.
Teaching your child how to build a budget and manage their finances will help them in adulthood in a variety of ways. As soon as kids get to college, credit card companies begin sending them offers.
By having a strong financial education and foundation in life, you can help your child to avoid getting into debt and making poor financial decisions.
Talk about how to allocate the money they make. Give them the opportunity to work within a budget as they’re growing up. This will give them real-world hands-on experience so that your child has the necessary knowledge to make smart financial choices.
One way my parents did this was by giving me a seasonal allowance for clothing. They gave me a limited amount and I decided how to spend it. Through trial and error, I learned how to stretch my dollars and shop smarter.
As your kids get older discuss with them additional ways they can simplify and save money as they enter adulthood.
Unfortunately, most schools don’t offer financial literacy courses so it’s up to the parents to teach their child this important life skill. And for many, it was not one they themselves learned growing up. But the good news is there are a lot of great resources out there to help you gain more knowledge now.
The culture and advertisers are constantly trying to get people to buy more, so it takes intentional effort to stop buying unnecessary stuff. While it can be a challenge to teach kids to live simply in a consumer culture that is constantly trying to entice them to buy the next thing, it will help them to have less financial stress when they’re grown.
9. How to apply for a job
Learning how to create a great resume as well as how to dress, act, and speak in an interview are important to have for landing a job.
Take the time to help your child learn how to make a resume that stands out and apply for jobs. Go to a secondhand store and get a few quality pieces they can use for interviews.
Do some role-playing so that they can practice answering potential interview questions. The more time they spend preparing, the better the more comfortable they will feel for the actual interview.
Talk about the importance of making personal connections with people. It’s common to get a job through friends or acquaintances that you already have.
Once they are offered a job it’s helpful to have some tips on how to negotiate their terms. After that having a solid work ethic and doing their best at their job is a great way to develop a good reputation and create more opportunities in the future.
10. How to work through failure and disappointment
One of the most challenging of the life skills to teach your kids is how to work through failure. No one wants to see their kid hurting or disappointed but it is an essential part of learning coping skills.
Kids need to be allowed to try and fail. They need to learn how to navigate disappointments.
If they can’t learn these things during childhood, they won’t be well prepared for living life on their own.
Dealing with difficult people and situations is a part of life for everyone at some point. Walk alongside your child as they go through challenging circumstances.
Often this means not stepping in to try and fix it. Sometimes what they need is for you to just be there or help them to find necessary resources.
While it can be tempting to want to protect your kids from every difficult situation or emotion, it doesn’t help them to become a healthy adult.
Try to refrain from helicopter parenting and controlling every detail of your child’s life, especially as they get older. Allow for some natural consequences so that your kids can learn.
By allowing for some discomfort but still being there for your child, you can help to empower them as they learn how to navigate the world.
11. How to communicate
In a world that is increasingly focused on technology, learning how to communicate is an important life skill that requires extra effort and intention.
Work on modeling healthy communication at home. That involves learning how to be polite, kind, and considerate while also learning healthy ways to manage conflict.
Practicing apologizing and forgiveness are essential elements of any relationship. It’s important to know how to stand up for yourself as well as how to work through difficult conversations.
These communication skills should carry over to how you communicate on social media as well. Learning how to disagree respectfully has become a lost art. Work on teaching your kids how to be kind even if they don’t agree.
Part of healthy communication is also creating boundaries with technology. Put people first. Don’t have phones at the table during family meals. Don’t keep cell phones in the bedroom at night.
The more you can help establish healthy habits with technology, the better prepared your kids will be to navigate life after they leave home.
12. How to practice gratitude
The final one of the important life skills to teach your kids is how to practice gratitude. In a world where entitlement seems to always be increasing, being thankful is crucial.
There are a variety of simple ways to practice gratitude with your kids. Whether you do a family activity by writing things you’re thankful for on pieces of paper and putting them in a jar or individually writing 3 things you’re grateful for each day it will have a big impact on your home.
By focusing on the good and the things that you have, you’re likely to be happier. Teaching your kids that life skill will help them to feel more content too.
Another easy technique for teaching your kids gratitude is by noticing the simple joys in life and pointing them out.
Not only will this help your kids to learn to appreciate the small things but it’s also a habit that will have a positive impact on your day.
Which of the life skills to teach your kids do you wish you’d learned growing up? Let us know in the comments section.
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I wished I’d learned to Clean house, and cook. My granny and mom did the cleaning, and granny did the cooking, and mom the baking. And didn’t want anybody else in the kitchen. My mom did, however, teach us how to handle money and save for a ‘rainy day’, for which I’m eternally grateful. And she took us to Sunday School every week, so we have a strong faith.
manage finances better
I was thought to be thankful and greatful in anything no matter how small it is. I am learnt how to be financially discipline, I can cook, home cleaning and laundry , I learnt when to talk and when to be silient both offline and online, I can fixed many of electrical gadget at home and I am still learning to breed highflier kids in the future.
Your list has 12 critical skills that teacher’s would love for you to hone with your children. The 13th skill I would have parents teach is how to be a loving and kind human to friends, colleagues, family members, and community members. Kindness and respect to self and others is learned behavior, and should be modeled by parents in the home. As an elementary school teacher, it is apparent to me that respect and kindness are oftentimes overlooked by parents as vital life skills.
Great point, Sharon. I included some of that in talking about communication, but it is a really important one.
Its good Information
I’m glad I was taught gratitude. It changed my life and I’m going to teach it to my kids early.
My mother and father taught us to be thankful. Grateful for bugs, flowers, trees. We learned the care of nature, which helped us become sensitive to other aspects in life. Kindness to other people, also, but the money part didn’t get stressed enough. Although we saved, I always had a hard time saving as an adult.
I believe that life is the best teacher. After loosing both of my parents at an early age, l have learnt most of those things not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I would do laundry, cleaning, cooking or hearding cattle only to get food or a very small amount of money. If l get a dollar, l would use it when necessary. Even today I don’t struggle too much because I can navigate life through that experience. Today I am teaching my kids to know such things and be self sustainable.
I wish that I had learned how to bring up problems in a way that does not threaten so that they could be worked through. Holding onto a grudge feels natural but can eat you up inside. After many years I have determined to be proactive about building positive relationships.–Anne
golden advice for parents. I have 2 kids and I always try to tech them must be ‘ thankful’ what ever they have in there life. it will give peaceful mind. try for best but don’t think negative which will cause depression and thinklessness of thing , relationship and job etc…
I think all the listed skills are important but I believe teaching a child empathy will only result in a positive attitude in life and understanding of other’s feelings. Overall a child with empathy results into a great human being. Something all parents should want from their children.