Teaching our children basic life skills is so important as parents! We have a list of basic life skills that kids need to know to be able to function in real-world situations.
Real-World Skills for Kids
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I’ve been thinking about how wonderful and blessed many of us are to live in a society that promotes education with great schools! Isn’t it so great that we can send our kids to school daily to learn how to read and write, experiment with science, learn about history, religion and so much more?
However, schools can’t teach everything, and we shouldn’t expect them to! There are certain basic skills we can make efforts to teach our kids to have a successful life. If you think about it, we have been teaching our kids from they were born into this world. It’s just part of parenting, right?
And best of all, teaching our kids basic life skills can be done in so many fun ways!
Today I’m talking about 10 basic life skills every child should know before they leave home and live on their own.
Basic Life Skills Every Child Should Know
Learning how to cook is so important for each and every one of us. All of us need to eat, and we can’t all live off of fast food and prepackaged meals. Teaching our kids how to feed themselves and make healthy meals is so vital to their day-to-day life.
I love to make a special effort to get my kids involved in making dinner. We have a list of favorite family meals that my kids can choose from because we always have all the ingredients on hand for them. They are quick, simple, and easy to memorize. My hope is that they will have at least 2 weeks worth of meals they can cook off-hand in college so they don’t go hungry or broke from eating out all the time.
So, how can you start teaching your kids the basic life skill of cooking?
Start off by teaching them about different ingredients, use it as an opportunity to teach about nutrition. Show them different chopping and preparation techniques that are appropriate for their age. Just get them involved! The more kids participate, the more likely they are to try the things they’ve helped to make.
Another thing to note is the importance of meal planning! Don’t let that slip through the cracks as kids get older. Knowing how to plan and make meals not for just themselves, but for a future family as well is a very important skill!
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I know we just went over teaching our kids how to cook, but baking is actually a whole different set of basic skills in the kitchen!
Baking teaches patience and precision. It’s all about following the recipe exactly to get the best result. Of course, you can still be creative at the end especially when it comes to decorating.
Exactness can be a great skill to teach to children and is also good to instill patience. Baking is a true labor of love that shows if you follow directions and remain patient you’re rewarded with a fantastic end result.
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It might not be quite the weather to be out in the garden, but there are lots of little herbs and veggies you can grow inside during the colder months. During gardening months, make it fun to get outside, get dirty and plant seeds! Teach your kids about different plants and species and how different kinds of plants grow in certain zones.
You could brush up on your plant biology knowledge and tell them all about the different stages of growing plants from germination right through to the flowering or fruit stage. Making it lots of fun is the key!
It’s a great hobby as it helps you to stay active, and again it rewards patience. If you nurture your seeds and tiny plants and water them regularly, you’ll eventually have a fully grown plant that you can feel really proud of. Start with some easy to grow plant varieties that you can grow on a windowsill or in the greenhouse.
Arts and Crafts
Doing arts and crafts are a great way to get the creative juices flowing and allow kids to express themselves. Put a fun arts and crafts bin together with some sequins, feathers, leaves and pipe cleaners and create your own pictures together. Practice drawing or painting or play with clay.
Have fun with it! Let your kids create whatever they like.
With Christmas around the corner, cards, wreaths, tree decorations, table decorations and more would all make great projects.
Managing money is something that we all need to be able to do as adults! There are too many young people that leave their parent’s home not knowing how to budget properly. You can teach positive money skills to children from a young age which sets them up for success.
There are lots of ways to teach kids how to manage money and make and stay in a budget. Showing our children how to save money at the grocery store and shop sales is something simple that you can do on an everyday basis.
You can show them how to save a portion of their allowance or hard-earned chore money so they can hold out to buy something they really want. You can even get kids debit cards! You can load their money onto it and show them how to check their balance in the app.
Another great way to teach money management is to give your child a set amount of money for a day out and let them to budget for the day. If they spend it all in one place and have none left for later then it’s a lesson they’ll see and learn for themselves.
Kids can struggle with very long term goals, so encouraging them to spend a little and save a little is usually the best bet and gives them the best of both worlds. It’s not a bad habit to have in adulthood too, we should all be saving but it’s important to enjoy the money we work hard for too.
We all wear clothes, so learning how to wash them is vital to daily living. Teach your kids your laundry tips! There are lots of tips with getting stains out and washing in certain temperatures to maintain nice clothing.
One of my favorite ways to let my kids help me sort darks, colors, and whites. It’s a great learning activity and also helps me in the first step of the laundry process. I also let my kids put the clothes in the washer and push the buttons. Start them young! You won’t regret it.
Managing time throughout the day is something we do every single day. We choose how and where to spend our time! At school, things are really structured and time management is mostly done for our kids. At home, we have the opportunity to teach them how to manage playtime, homework, and getting household chores done. Along with that also comes managing time for extracurricular activities.
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Simple Home Maintenance Skills
There are so many home maintenance skills that are simple, but difficult if not taught. One of my son’s favorite activities is going over to a friend’s home where there is a little workshop of scraps for him and his friend to hammer things together and build to their heart’s content. Of course, be sure to teach safety! Learning how to hammer a nail, put an anchor into the wall to hang heavy pieces are great things to start with.
Some other things you can be sure to teach are how to unclog a toilet or sink, how to paint a wall or piece of furniture, and how to change lightbulbs and check smoke alarms.
Your kids will thank you!
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Kids definitely need to learn how to take care of their own injuries! A great way to start this is to have a first aid kit stocked and ready for any kind of emergency, and talk to your child about all the different parts and pieces of the kit and what their functions are. A few cute character bandages never hurt anyone either. 🙂
Help your child clean their wound and bandage it up. Teach the importance of keeping it clean and well-kept to prevent infection.
Teaching our children directions and how to find their way around is so important. Everyone has different ways they figure out where to go, but making sure we help our kids not be too dependent on Google Maps is pretty vital! What if you don’t have service and need to find your own way.
Teach North, South, East, and West. Make it a game! When you’re driving, ask which direction you’re traveling and ask your child how they would go about getting to your destination. My dad would let us navigate places when I was growing up, and it really taught me to pay attention to my surroundings!
And there you have it! 10 basic skills your kids need to have that parents need to be teaching.
Do you have any other basic skills you want to make sure your kids have before moving out? Share them in the comments!
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Michele is a Family Life Educator with her degree in marriage and family studies. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!