25 Essential Life Skills Every Child Should Know

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As a parent, you must instill certain basic life skills for kids, including social, interpersonal, coordination, problem-solving, and creative skills. Children who are well-acquainted with these skills may find it easier to make decisions, meet day-to-day challenges, and handle situations better in the absence of elders.

Life skills are to be taught to children from an early age. Parents must make sure that their children learn and practice these skills to grow into successful adults in the future.

Browse through this post to learn about the essential life skills for your child and learn the importance of teaching these skills to your children.

In This Article

What Are Life Skills?

The World Health Organization defines life skills as “a group of psychosocial competenciesiAbilities related to an individual’s psychological and social skills that aid them in dealing with various life challenges. and interpersonal skillsiA set of abilities that enable one to interact with people effectively and build relationships. that help people make informed decisions, solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, empathize with others, and cope with and manage their lives in a healthy and productive manner.”

protip_icon Point to consider
Teach your child resilience and adaptability in addition to other important life lessons. You can achieve this by carefully giving your child the tools to address issues independently, so they can handle the problems as they come.

Empowering your children to hone their life skills will help them make logical decisions and learn what to do in different situations and how to do them.

Importance Of Life Skills For Kids

Developing life skills is a lifelong process and helps individuals grow, become mature, and achieve success. Building essential life skills is an exercise that helps children develop proper judgment and good habits. Life skills also help develop children’s personalities, talents, and mental and physical abilities. In everyday life, possessing life skills helps children

  • Find different ways of solving problems.
  • Build self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Analyze options.
  • Develop a greater sense of self-awareness.
  • Appreciate others and build empathy.
  • Make better decisions.
  • Recognize the impact of their actions.
  • Become responsible.
  • Improve self-regulation.
  • Prevent negative and high-risk behaviors.

Essential Life Skills For Kids To Learn

Here is a long list of essential life skills that parents should help their children acquire.

1. Cultivating independence

Give them opportunities to do tasks without assistance

Image: IStock

To let children build independence, allow them to understand a few things on their own and give them opportunities to do tasks and activities without assistance. This helps build self-confidence and self-esteem and encourages them to do simple tasks without help and be self-reliant. Carrie, father of Henry and blogger, says, ”I am now helping Henry to use a swing independently so he doesn’t need to rely on me pushing him, and by doing this it did make him start to learn this skill, and it made him use other things in the park like climbing frames rather than him playing on the swings all the time (i).”

2. Decision-making

Making appropriate decisions is an essential life skill that every child should learn and practice from a tender age. For example, allow your child to choose between different types of clothes, toys, food, and games. Encouraging your child to understand the outcomes of their choices can improve their self-management abilities. Guide your child through this process to help them weigh the pros and cons before making any decision. Also, allow them to make mistakes when making decisions and learn through practice.

3. Self-defense

Self-defense skills will help the child gain self-confidence and inner strength and serve them well in their lives. Self-defense is not just about protecting oneself from physical force. Instead, it includes being proactive to prevent problems and using assertiveness to respond to bullying. It also teaches children how to identify dangerous situations, assess them, and then handle them.

4. Understanding another person’s perspective

When your child explains some difficult situation that they or their friends encountered, encourage the child to look at the scenario from another person’s perspective. Teach your child the emotional reactions people give out in various situations. This can improve their problem-solving skills and ability to understand people around them.

5. Talking to strangers

As your little child grows, they will meet different people, including teachers, classmates, bus drivers, and shopkeepers. Develop social skills in your children. Teach your child how to talk to strangers and explain themselves. This will help improve their communication and listening skills and make them more sociable. Explain to your child that not all strangers are bad and that they need to be friendly with people, all the while knowing that they need to maintain a safe distance and not be too friendly with everyone either.

6. Time management

Time management is a skill that helps children in every activity

Image: IStock

Time management is a skill that helps children in every activity they do. It teaches them to differentiate between important work and urgent work and prioritize their tasks and duties. To learn a few tips on how to teach time management to children, click here.

7. Coping with failure

Failure is a part of life, and it helps every individual learn life lessons. Remember that you won’t be there to soothe your child every single time they feel left out or falls short at a task.

protip_icon Experts say
Children react differently to disappointment. While some may become silent, grumpy, or stubborn, others may quickly burst into tantrums. It’s crucial to remember that dealing with disappointment can also be challenging for grownups (2).

Make your child understand that failure is a part of the learning process and teach them to embrace their failures. Explain to them that failure doesn’t define a person and that it is how people cope with failures and come out stronger from that that counts.

8. Critical thinking

Critical thinking is one of the essential skills that every child should learn. Critical thinking helps one analyze and absorb information, compare situations, look at things from different angles, and make inferences.

To develop critical thinking in your children, provide them with opportunities to play games that involve critical thinking, allow your child to solve their problems, teach them to reflect on their responses, ask open-end questions, and encourage them to think in new and different ways.

9. Facing challenges

A child can grow up to be a strong adult when they learn how to take on challenges with a positive attitude. Therefore, encourage your child to try new and different things. You could let them start by learning how to ride a bike or climb a tree. Let your child choose their challenges, face failure, bounce back from failure, and keep trying. Taking up challenges helps build confidence and a never-give-up attitude in them.

10. Resilience

Resilience is an important skill you should teach your child. This can be developed by not feeding your child with solutions constantly but by allowing them to understand a problem, think about what they can do, and solve it independently. Make sure that your child has enough flexibility to adapt to different kinds of changes and environments. Make sure that your child is flexible enough to adapt to different kinds of changes and environments. Here are a few strategies that you could adopt to help build resilience in your children.

11. Budgeting and managing money

Teach your child how to spend responsibly and invest for their future

Image: IStock

Being money-savvy is a vital skill every individual should possess. Teach your child about money-management, how to spend responsibly, and to invest for their future at an early age.

You could give your child a certain amount of pocket money once in fifteen days or once a month. If your child wishes to buy something expensive, ask them to save money and buy it. This practice will ensure they plan their budget, save before spending, and not indulge in impulsive buying.

12. Good health and hygiene

It is vital to teach your child the importance of health and personal hygiene from a very young age. Teach them the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day, washing their hands, taking a bath, and eating healthy.

Also, discuss the different types of food based on your child’s interests. For instance, if your child likes taking care of their hair, talk about foods that contain proteins and potassium. If your child loves physical activity and sports, talk about foods that increase stability and stamina.

13. Treating a wound

It is not possible for you to be around your child every time. Empower your child to take care of themselves in case of any emergency. To ensure that your child does not get anxious looking at a wound, avoid overreacting yourself. Let the child know where the first-aid kit is and how to treat wounds and cuts.

Teach your child to press the area with a clean cloth, hold the cut under the tap water, wash it with a mild soap, apply ointment with a cotton swab, and cover the wound with a bandage, gauze, or tape.

14. Cooking meals

Ask your child to help you make meals. You may assign them a few tasks, such as cutting vegetables and fruits, applying jam or butter onto a piece of bread, or putting the chopped vegetables into a bowl to make a salad.

Preparing simple meals and helping you in the kitchen will help them understand healthy food habits and teach them to be self-independent.

15. Doing laundry

Teaching how to do laundry will instill responsible habits in them

Image: IStock

Teaching your children how to do laundry will reduce your burden and instill responsible habits in them. Young children can help in pairing socks and putting dirty clothes into the laundry basket, while older children can be taught how to use washing machines, measure the right amount of detergent, hang laundry for drying, and fold their clothes.

16. Gift wrapping

Wrapping a gift will help develop the child’s creative thinking skills and help them learn different techniques of wrapping. You could give them paper and tape and ask them to wrap gifts for their friends or grandparents on special occasions. Gift wrapping is also a great way to improve your child’s motor skillsiSet of abilities that help move and control various body parts, especially hands, legs, and fingers. and hand-eye coordinationiAn important cognitive skill of performing movements with hands while being guided by the eyes. .

17. Gardening

Allow your child to help you in the garden and learn about different flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Encourage young children to water the plants regularly, while the elder kids can get involved in weeding, painting the fence panels, and mowing under supervision. You could also introduce them to some fun and creative gardening activities or DIY garden ideas.

18. Looking after pets

Having pets at home will help your child build empathy and learn how to be caring and responsible. Your child can help you clean the cages, prepare food, take the pets out for a walk, and prepare the bed for them.

19. Digital literacy

Children of this generation spend a considerable amount of time on their screens. So it is essential to reinforce a few rules to help them safely navigate the digital world. First, allow your child to use the web wisely and for a good reason. Second, teach them how to use the Internet safely and responsibly.

20. Cleaning and doing chores

Start by asking them to make their bed

Image: IStock

Getting children involved in cleaning activities is challenging. Start by asking them to keep their room clean, make their bed, and arrange their table. You could also ask them to help you set the dining table for a meal or clean the dishes after eating. Learning how to do chores helps children understand their responsibilities and become independent.

21. Getting ready

It is essential to allow your child to get ready themselves. Let them pick their outfit for the day and wear it on their own. Teach them how to brush their teeth, take a bath, and comb their hair before school. These are basic skills every child should learn from a very young age.

22. Table manners

Teach your child the basic table manners, such as using a knife and fork while eating, washing the hands before meals, and eating with their mouths closed. You could also teach your child how to behave at a restaurant and how to order food.

23. Swimming

Swimming is one of the essential life skills for children. It benefits children in several ways, both physically and mentally, and helps them build confidence. Swimming is also an excellent way to teach children about water safety and improve their endurance.

24. Using maps

Guide your child with the routes around the city and help them remember the different routes via landmarks. You could also ask your child to direct you to your home every time you go out to ensure that they remember the route. Teach them how to read a map and use a GPS.

25. Travelling

It is important that your child knows the basics of traveling. Starting from taking public transport to cycling, make sure that your child is well versed in how to get from one place to the other. For example, teach them how to buy a bus ticket or metro ticket and explain which metro or bus leads to your house.

Life Skills Checklist For Kids

Do you want your child to be prepared to face the real world and grow into independent adults? Help them with these age-specific abilities.

For Ages 2 and 3
  • Wash hands and face
  • Comb the hair with assistance
  • Brush teeth with assistance
  • Organize toys
  • Put dirty clothes in the laundry basket
  • cooperation
For Ages 8 to 12
  • Conflict-resolution
  • Learn to compromise
  • Understand appropriate behavior according to the environment
  • Read an analog clock
  • Submitting homework on time
  • Keep a journal
  • Track spending and saving
  • Sort belongings and keep the room tidy
  • Help wash the car
  • Help with yard work
  • Maintain bicycles, such as filing air in the tires and applying oil to squeaky parts
  • Wash the dishes
  • Use the washing machine
  • Hang and fold clothes
  • Vacuum, sweep, and mop
  • Clean the washroom with help
  • Take our trash
  • Trim the nails
  • Know basic first aid
  • Prioritize tasks
  • Create a pros and cons list when making a decision
For Ages 4 to 7
  • Wash the plates after meals
  • Assist in setting the table
  • Shake hands and greet others with respect.
  • Wake up using an alarm
  • Understand the importance of money
  • Organize and arrange toys
  • Help tidy the living room
  • Water the plants
  • Make the bed
  • Dust and clean the room with help
  • Helping mummy and daddy in the kitchen
  • Assist in setting the table for meals
  • Hang towels on the hanger after bath
  • Help in folding cloths
  • Help feed the pets
  • Brush teeth and wash hands

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can schools incorporate life skills education into their curriculum?

Schools can integrate life skills education into their curriculum by providing classes that teach practical skills like financial management, time management, communication, and decision-making. Schools can also encourage them to participate in volunteering and internships to develop interpersonal and workplace abilities.

2. How can parents motivate their children to learn life skills?

Parents can motivate their children to learn life skills by being a good role example, giving them a supportive and encouraging environment, and making them take part in activities that require life skills in their daily lives.

3. How can life skills training help in building children’s confidence and self-esteem?

The knowledge and experience of practical skills acquired from life skills training can help build children’s confidence and self-esteem. Such training provides them with opportunities to solve problems, make decisions, and deal with real-life situations on their own; thus, making them feel more competent and capable.

4. What are some basic financial management skills that children should learn?

Budgeting, saving, making a balance sheet, and carefully handling their spending are a few of the basic financial management skills that children should acquire. It’s important for children to have knowledge of financial goal-setting and the fundamentals of investing.

5. How can children learn problem-solving skills?

Children can learn problem-solving skills through practical examples, such as playing puzzle games, reading inspirational books, and applying the learned skills in real-life situations. You can also help your children develop problem-solving skills by providing them with opportunities to solve problems, make decisions, and overcome challenges on their own.

Life skills for kids play an intense role in their overall growth and development. These help them succeed in various ventures of life in the right way. Life skills allow children to realize their true potential and improve their self-esteem by making them feel more independent. Learning and adapting them can also enhance their decision-making ability to live harmonically with others in society. Therefore, you must consider teaching these life skills at an earlier age, in ways that they would find fun and entertaining. Lastly, remember that teaching life skills to your child requires effort, patience, time, and consistent work.

Infographic: Life Skills You Must Teach Your Children

While your child may learn and discover many things on their own as they grow, it is advisable to teach some essential life skills that will benefit them always. This infographic lists a few additional crucial life skills parents should teach their children.

life skills parents should teach their children (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Building life skills is a life-long process that should begin in childhood.
  • Inculcating life skills in children helps them analyze options, make logical decisions, and understand the impact of their decision on others.
  • Time management, critical thinking, coping with failure, and resilience are a few life skills that children should learn to be self-aware, confident, and responsible.
  • Assigning age-specific tasks to children from a young age can help teach life skills to them.
Life Skills For Kids_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

Children are by nature curious to learn about the world around them. As mentioned in the video, guide them to develop essential life skills by engaging them in fun-filled learning activities.

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. Knowledge Brief; Basic Life Skills Curriculum.
2. How to Help Kids Cope With Disappointment; Katie Hurley.

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