We do our kids a disservice if we don’t teach them the valuable life lessons necessary to navigate life successfully.
Although you might hate to think of it, one day, that adorable two-year old will become a twenty-something year old. And when that day happens, will you have properly equipped them for it?
Or will they be drowning and floundering, trying to hold it all together without certain how-to knowledge?
Now granted, everyone’s values are different, but let’s look at some valuable life skills I think are relevant to most children.
How do you teach life lessons?
Some life lessons are simple and straightforward, while others may be more complex.
Teach life lessons while you actively teach your kids. Be a present parent and focus on building a parent-child relationship with your kids.
Be aware of the things they need to learn to become adults and teach them important life skills daily.
What are the most important things a parent can teach a child?
First, and maybe this is going to seem like a no-brainer, but please make sure they learn good hygiene! Especially once they reach school age, a bath every day should generally be expected. And while you might think it shouldn’t need explaining, tell them to use soap!
When we discovered one of our kids had missed the knowledge part about using soap in the shower, we asked what they did in there. The answer was, “I relax in the warm water,” or something along those lines. What nice parents we were sending that child to shower just “to relax”. That misconception was addressed with the child by the way!
Along with that, brushing teeth twice a day is a good recommendation, and what our dentist would agree with. I’ve read somewhere that children don’t have the physical capability to brush their teeth properly until at least age 7.
Assisting them with this and encouraging good dental hygiene from a young age may prevent them some expensive bills down the road in adulthood.
Another important skill is learning to cook. We all have to eat to live whether you are male or female.
Yes, it’s important to teach your boys and girls how to cook meals and be self sufficient. Even if your child doesn’t particularly enjoy cooking, chances are they will need to cook a meal more than once in their life.
Get your kids in the kitchen with you and start with age appropriate tasks to help make your family meals at home.
3. Being Unplugged
This may not seem like a life skill, but in today’s modern day it is. In fact one Stanford psychology expert says that being unplugged and focused, without destraction, is the number 1 life skill you need to teach your children.
Our access to technology will only increase by the time our children become adults. So, it makes sense to teach them healthy boundaries now, so they are able to connect with real world issues in the future.
Teach your kids to do laundry! This is a healthy habit kids can start at a young age. Have them start small folding towels and washcloths, sorting socks, or pulling the clothes out of the dryer into a basket.
It helps me to have my kids help with laundry and it’s teaching them a life skill they’ll need to survive in the real world.
Just like laundry children should learn how to do dishes and how to clean a house.
You can start small with these too, asking your kids to clear the dinner plates or unload a rack of the dishwasher.
6. Car Maintenance
Learning some basic car maintenance is good for all kids. I’ve never changed a tire, but it certainly would be good for boys or girls to know how to place a jack and change a flat tire.
Along with caring for your car, is learning about the basic tools, like a hammer and screwdriver, and learning repair skills. This one might be difficult to teach if the parents don’t have this knowledge, but anymore you can google and YouTube how to do just about anything. You can save money, and have a sense of accomplishment by fixing and building your own projects.
I can’t tell you how many times in my life I wished I had basic auto repair skills. It would have saved me so much money and hassle!
7. Money Management
Speaking of money, it is vital to teach your kids money management skills. So many people stress about student loan debt and credit card debt. Help your child learn to save money at a young age and to not spend money they don’t have.
Assist them with their first bank account and teach them to balance their checkbook regularly. Explain that they need to pay what they owe in a timely manner. Teach them to build a simple budget and to work hard so they can earn a decent income.
8. Emergency & First Aid
Knowing some basic emergency and first aid is another valuable life skill. Starting at a young age, children should learn their home address and how to call 911 in the event of an emergency.
As the children get older, they can be enrolled in a basic CPR course. Learning the correct way to help someone who is choking or bleeding can be added to this skill set.
Have drills at home for emergency situations or disasters that are more likely to happen in your area. Prepare them for a time when they might have to deal with a disaster and you aren’t there.
Are manners and etiquette still a life skill today? If not, then please bring them back! The basics of please, thank you, and excuse me make life more polite and pleasant.
Courtesies like saying “hello”, to a passerby on a walk, or holding the door for someone else. I want my children to have manners and grow to be respectful and helpful adults.
10. Animal Care
This next life skill might not be as important to some people, but what about caring for animals properly?
Even if you don’t own any animals yourself, the odds are you will run into someone who does. Children should learn how to approach an animal correctly, and how to handle them. This can be for the child’s own safety.
They should be taught not to mistreat them. Reminding children that animals have to be fed, watered, and cleaned up after, emphasizes that we have a responsibility to those that depend on us.
Teach your kids the importance of time and respecting other peoples time.
Model timeliness for your kids by getting ready for things early and arriving early.
This skill is so important for maintaining close relationships with friends and family. Not to mention the importance of timeliness when it comes to keeping a job or getting good grades in college.
12. Giving Back & Kindness
For the last skill on this list, teach your children the skill of giving and being kind to others.
There can be many ways to do this. It has been said we don’t live our lives in a vacuum. For most of us, our lives are constantly entwined with others.
You can visit seniors in a convalescent home, take a meal to someone, or send money to someone who has big medical expenses. Think of random acts of kindness you can do each day.
Sending a card at the right time might mean a lot to that person.
Lead by example with your kindness and generosity.
Please teach your kids to be kind and think of others, because if they do that, much of the rest of life will sort itself out.
What skills do you think are essential for your children to learn? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!