There are some basic life-skills for kids which they need to learn by the age of ten. These practical life skills are valuable life lessons kids will need throughout their lifetime. It’s unbelievable that nowadays most kids don’t learn how to handle real-world situations before high school.
In the modern world, mastering life skills lessons is crucial for surviving, and every child should begin with learning them at a very young age. As soon as they come to elementary school, children will face rewards and consequences of their decisions. You as a parent should help your child with various life skills topics allowing them to determinate their options and make their final decisions on the right way.
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Crucial Life Skills for Kids of Different Age
There is a list of life skills for kids I wish to share with you. It would be wise taking advantage of the time before your kid becomes a headstrong teenager who will refuse to listen to you. Teaching life skills is the best way to raise a child as an independent, happy, skillful, and confident person.
Depending on her age, you can teach your child essential life skills and put increasing requirements in front of her over the years.
Skills kids should master by the age of 2 and 3:
- Helping you to put her toys in the box
- Clearing her plate after dinner
- Helping you with setting the table
- Wearing clothes on her own
- Putting her dirty clothes in the basket
- Brushing her teeth
- Washing her face
Skills kids should master by the age of 4 and 5:
- Knowing both her and your full name
- Knowing your phone number and home address
- Knowing how to call you in emergency
- Clearing the table after meals
- Feeding her pet
- Using money
- Identifying money denominations
- Combing her hair
- Choosing clothes to wear
Skills kids should master by the age of 6 and 7
- Placing groceries in the appropriate place in the kitchen
- Helping with cooking meals
- Chopping, cutting with a blunt knife, mixing
- Making a sandwich
- Washing the dishes
- Cleaning the bathroom after using it
- Making her bed
- Taking a bath by her own
Skills kids should master by the age of 8 to 10
- Knowing how to sew a button
- Taking care of her bike
- Creating a grocery list
- Preparing a simple meal
- Taking care of hygiene without instructions
- Changing her bed sheets
- Using a dustpan and broom properly
- Taking out the trash
- Staying home alone for less than half an hour
Crucial Personal Life Skills for Kids
1 – Having good manners
You can’t overestimate the value of having good manners. Simple words such as ‘Thank you’, ‘You are welcome’, and ‘Please’ can make a big difference in the behavior of your child towards the other people. Consequently, people will respond with kindness to a well-behaved child.
For a start, use these phrases while walking with a child, feeding her, playing with her, and so on. Actually, any time is appropriate for you as a parent teaching your child to be affable and kind. The more you express good manners, the more you can expect in return from your little one.
2 – Telling the truth
I can’t emphasize enough the need to teach a child to be honest with you and always to tell you the truth regardless of the expected consequences of her inadequate behavior. The real value of this necessary life skill you will entirely realize after your child becomes a teenager.
There are too many opportunities for a child to be dishonest. Your primary job is to teach your little one the difference between right and wrong and the possible consequences that arise from lying. Keep in mind that you are the role model for your child and she will look up at you. Watch your behavior and don’t let yourself your child gets caught you in a lie. Also, be careful with white lies.
A little child will find it difficult to understand the need for ‘little white lies’ and won’t be able to distinguish them from ‘big’ lies, which can put you in very awkward situations and embarrass you wherever you are at that moment.
3 – Showing gratitude is a crucial life skill for children
The materialistic world we all live in is not always easy for children. There is a real possibility that your child loses a sense of gratitude very quickly, especially in situations when she is surrounded with numerous interesting new gadgets including powerful computers, video games, and hi-tech toys.
I understand that you want your child to have all the best things in her life, but it is essential to teach her that she should be grateful for what she has no matter that it is not the latest hi-tech device or the most expensive sneakers.
You should start by teaching your child life skills as soon as possible. Remind her how lucky she is to have grandparents who love her, a mom who reads her a story before bedtime, friend who will always support her in life, a cuddly pet to play with, a home, a garden where she can enjoy, a warm jacket to warm her up when it is cold outside, and so on.
Don’t forget to teach her the importance of showing gratitude for gifts she receives. She needs to say ‘Thank you’ whatever that present is and regardless of whether she likes it. Expressing respect for people is more important than any gift. The line between spoiling the kid and giving her the best you can in life is very thin. It implies that you should explain your little one why she can’t receive everything she wishes as soon as she wants it.
4 – How to apologize and empathize with other people
Apologizing to people and empathizing with others are crucial life skills for every child. Your kid needs to understand the importance of apologizing when she has done or even said something wrong. Plus, the level your child can empathize and sympathize with other people shows you how healthy little person she is.
5 – Importance of making healthy choices
Healthy nutrition is a crucial issue when it comes to child’s health. Being a role model and giving an example is the only way to teach your kid to accept adequate eating habits and to show her what is right for her and what isn’t. While your little one grows up, she will be a witness of your habits, and she will copy them.
If you eat chocolate or fat-laden cookies every time you are under the stress or nervous, you can be sure that your child will do the same. On the other hand, if you always have a bowl of fruit on the table, your kid will learn that fruit is a better choice to fuel her body than unhealthy snacks.
6 – Choosing happiness is always the best option
True happiness is mainly an inside job. No matter how unbelievable it may sound, the level of your child’s happiness isn’t directly related to her family, friends, home, vacation destinations, wardrobe, and so on. Nope, it will depend directly on her alone. If you ask me, it is the best life skills lesson you can give to your beloved child.
7 – The ability to advocate for herself
You should be aware that as much as you love your kid, you can’t always be there to help her with all her problems. Regardless of whether your child is overly sensitive or has difficulties to connect with her peers, you should explain to her that she has to find a way to advocate for herself when you are not present to support her.
8 – Taking care of another living being
Many parents realize an influence of the pet on their children. The pet can be an excellent companion and the best friend for your child especially if she is shy or introvert. The problem is that children can be cruel to animals and some experts believe that you should wait until your kid is six years old before getting a pet. Depending on the child, you can try with a goldfish, hamster, or a parrot in the first place before you decide to bring a cat or a dog to the house. In any case, keep an eye on your child at first to see how she behaves towards a new buddy.
Life Skills Activities for Kids
1 – Getting ready for the next day
One of the first practical life skills your child should learn at an early age is to get ready on her own. Encourage her before bedtime to pick out the clothes she wants to wear tomorrow morning. Plus, between six and eight years old, your child is old enough to learn how to lace her shoes.
2 – Basic hygiene and health habits
Your child is never too young to start to learn about hygiene and health habits. She needs to know the importance of washing her hands, brushing her teeth, taking a bath, and changing her underwear. You are the one who should explain to your kid why hygiene and health habits are an essential part of her life.
3 – The importance of a bedtime routine
Your child should learn some basic life skills lessons connected with her bedtime routine by the ages one to six. Your beloved toddler needs to accept a consistent bedtime routine as soon as possible. It will help her to get asleep more relaxed.
For example, I used ‘The four B’s’ routine (brushing, bathing, book, and bed) every night until my daughter accepted this model as something inextricably with her night sleep. I highly recommend you this type of routine because kids find it fun and amusing. Well, believe me, if your child falls asleep quickly, it will be a significant benefit to you too.
Life Skills Curriculum for Kids
1 – How to manage money
In my opinion, the kid should know how to balance a checkbook or about a fundamental difference between a credit and debit card before leaving home to go to college. You should admit that teaching your child how to manage her money is a big deal.
While your child is still young, you should encourage her to save and budget her cash. After that, she can start to earn some money working a part-time job.
Six years old child who knows to count can compare shopping rules when she buys something online or at the mall. A little older child should know how to log onto a savings account to track ‘her’ money. Teach your kid how to manage cash on time (including how to save and spend money wisely) and prevent further troubles with this issue.
2 – Ordering at a restaurant
To make things easier for your child’s future life, teaching her how to make an order at the restaurant can be very important. Let her order for herself. It will build your toddler’s confidence in the pretty fun way for her.
Take your kid at the restaurant where the menu is full of food photos and let her pick food according to its color and shape. You can expect her to point an image of food she wants initially, but she will gradually learn to order food as adults. Don’t forget to encourage her to say ‘Please’ while ordering and ‘Thank you’ after she gets her meal.
3 – Taking public transportation
In general, you shouldn’t allow your toddler to cross the street too early, but it is OK to teach her about basic rules connected with the traffic lights.
When your kid is six years old, you can start to teach her about taking public transportation and using a map. Whether you allow your child to use it or not depends not only on her age but also on where you live. It is evident that rules can’t be the same if your child grows up in New York or Chicago, or in the small town. However, think about giving her necessary information regarding the distinctive landmarks. Who knows?
4 – Finding their way home
Knowing the parents’ names, surnames, and home address is a crucial skill for every child. Although GPS is available nowadays on a Smartphone, you should teach your child to rely on her own. It can make a difference in emergencies when you are unavailable, or the cell battery is low.
To achieve this, try to organize life skills games for your child and ask her to find a toy hidden in the garden following simple guidelines to mark their location. You can play this game everywhere including ZOOs, theme parks, or museums.
Practical Life Skills Activities for Kids
1 – Swimming
If you have a possibility, it is not bad idea letting your toddler learn to swim as soon as possible. It is a useful skill, but by the recommendation of The American Academy of Pediatrics, your child won’t be ready for swimming lessons until the age of four.
2 – Riding a bike
Most children can ride a bike by the age of five. Your kid can start with this activity after her third birthday by using training wheels, and she should reject them when she is approximately five years old.
3 – Using basic tools
Young children are curious. That is a fact. When you try to fix something around your house, you can expect your kid sticks around. By her tenth birthday, your child should learn how to use a hammer and screwdriver safely. It can be pretty useful for a toddler to know how to hammer a nail, for example. Don’t mention how fun it will be for her.
4 – Planting
It can be enjoyable and useful for your preschooler to learn how to plant seeds or transfer a plant into a garden. Let your kid dig a hole and to put the sprout in it. Give her the assignment to water a plant with a perforated nozzle.
5 – Preparing a simple meal
By age ten, your child should know how to prepare some simple meals with your supervision. Your preschooler can make a sandwich or yogurt with fruit, and she can help you with measuring ingredients, assembling pizzas, or stirring batter. If you have an elementary school child, be sure that she can make a simple tomato, lettuce, or cucumbers salads or learn how to use the toaster, oven, and microwave.
6 – Helping with cleaning
Helping you with cleaning means that your child should start with picking up her toys, and continue with making her bed, changing the toilet paper roll, washing dishes, dusting, vacuuming, throwing the garbage, cleaning the bathroom after taking a bath, and so on. Also, every eight-year-old child should know how to wash, fold and put away her laundry. All these life skills represent useful habits which will make her life much more comfortable when she leaves your house. Plus, you will get a little help around.
7 – Writing a letter or an e-mail
Even in the 21st century, it is nice when a child can write a letter. Anyway, it will be a beneficial skill which she can use in contemporary e-mail correspondence later. You should encourage your child to send a letter to her grandparents for example. She will learn to write and to be patient at the same time.
A young child can enclose a nice drawing along the letter, and the older one can address an envelope. Enjoy together making and writing holiday cards for the dear family members, and encourage her to find a pen pal on sites such as International Pen Friends or Amazing Kids.
8 – Wrapping a gift
Even your preschooler can help you with cutting the wrapping paper and sticking on the tape. Don’t mention how enjoyable can be this activity for her. A younger child can pick out the box, remove the price tag, and attach a decorative ribbon to a gift.
9 – Treating a wound
In any case, it is useful to teach your child how to help herself and other people in the emergency. Your toddler should prepare for life, and it is not practical if she freaks out when she sees blood, instead to offer help. Try to turn an accident to the game while using the antibiotic cream, stop bleeding, or apply your kid a bandage. She should know that accidents can happen and that the appropriate reaction is to calm down and try to help.
10 – Using the clock
A vital life skill that every child should master is time management. Help your toddler learn how to measure time and make her easy to respect both, their own and other people’s schedule.
Every child is different. Some of them will learn more quickly, some will make their own schedule of learning, and some will be more curious. Anyway, there are some necessary life skills every child should know depending on her age. Be prepared that your child surprises you and sometimes knows to do much more than you have thought.
Your job as a parent is to teach your child to be a good, honest person who is ready to help others. You need to give your best to prepare your kid for future life. Skills she gets at home in her early ages will be crucial for her to become an independent and capable adult one day. Just give your little one a chance.