Family Life, Stages, Tweens & Teens

Teaching Life Skills

One of the most important responsibilities a parent has is to prepare the next generation for the world ahead of it. No matter how young your child is, there are plenty of little skills they can learn to do that will make a big difference in their lives once they become young adults. Here is a list of life skills that will prepare your child for his or her future:

How to think
Teaching your child how to think for themselves at a young age will help develop the critical thinking skills they need once they start doing things on their own, such as driving, working, and living in their own place. You can start by letting your child do things by themselves around the house that they do not normally do; have them cook a meal or choose what they want to wear in the mornings. Whatever you do, try not to intervene! Instead, ask them about their thought process behind what they do so you can offer tips and tricks.

How to use their manners
You can go a long way with a simple “please,” “thank you,” and “yes ma’am.” A gesture as small as politeness will have a positive impact on the people around you. Proper manners are crucial in the classroom, at your job, or anywhere else in public, so when your child develops a habit to be polite to others, they will gain respect anywhere they go. Encourage them to use their manners even when it may be hard to remain polite to a rude person.

How to cook
Let your child help you cook dinner while you teach them how to use the stove, oven, and microwave. They don’t have to become a gourmet chef, but, as long as they know the basics, like how to cook grilled cheese and boil pasta noodles, they’ll feel more confident in their future cooking endeavors.

How to budget
Financial literacy starts with a basic understanding of how money works. Give your child a small allowance to spend on whatever they want. For example, you might give them $10 to spend each time you go to the grocery. At first, they might spend every penny on something big, but they will eventually learn to be more selective when they want to buy more things for ten dollars. This will teach them about tax, too, as they will learn they have to spend a little less than $10 in order to pay for their item(s) plus tax. You can also teach them how to save their money by telling them that if they save the $10 you just gave them, they’ll have $20 to spend next time they go shopping, or even $30 the time after that.

How to do laundry
Teach them how to separate fabrics and colors, how to use stain remover and fabric softener, and how to measure the detergent in the cap. Remind them to check the tags in their clothes to make sure they are washing the clothes correctly, and let them know which items of clothing should not be put in the dryer. Not only will your child know how to help you with laundry, but he or she will also carry this skill to college where they may need to do their own laundry.

If your child has special needs, these skills might be a little more difficult to teach to them. The best way to navigate these lessons is to teach them gradually, as giving your special needs child too much information at once can be overwhelming for them. For example, don’t teach them how to dry their clothes until they master using the washing machine. You can also take them to the grocery store with you and let them find a few items from your list. One helpful method is doing a chore partially for them and letting them finish the rest, then gradually doing less of the chore for them as they learn to do it on their own. However you go about teaching your child these essential life skills, they will be prepared for the real world and the steps they take to get there.


By Emily Drez

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