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Important Life Skills to Teach Kids at Every Age

What are life skills? When I talk about life skills, what I really mean is all the things required to be an adult living on their own. And it’s so important that we start teaching our kids life skills from a young age so that they are ready for adulthood and are helpful members of the family.

So what life skills should you teach at which ages? There are no hard and fast rules here, but you can use this as a general guide and adjust as necessary for your own family.

You’ll notice that you should start simple and then build on skills as kids get older. It’s also important that you not just teach them how to do these things, but eventually, build up so that they are responsible for doing these things on their own too.

Life Skills to Teach Your Kids:

Life Skills for Ages 3-5

  • Put away toys
  • Get dressed independently
  • Help put away laundry
  • Help dry dishes
  • Help prepare food
  • How to wash their hands
  • Personal hygiene
  • Fire safety
  • Feed pets
  • Learn to swim

Life Skills for Ages 6-9

  • Fold & Put Away their laundry
  • Help wash dishes
  • How to prepare specific meals
  • How to safely use kitchen appliances
  • Basic First Aid
  • How to manage their time
  • Cleaning the House – sweeping, dusting, mopping, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, etc.
  • How to care for plants

Life Skills for Ages 10-13

  • Cook a full meal independently
  • Wash their own laundry
  • Take out the trash
  • Personal hygiene without having to be told
  • Stay home alone
  • Wash & put away dishes
  • Change & Wash Sheets
  • Basic Money Skills
  • How to shop and make purchases at a store
  • How to care for younger children

Life Skills for Ages 14-18

  • How to manage their own calendar
  • How to drive
  • How to purchase and fill the car with gas
  • How to use a GPS safely while driving
  • Budgeting & money management
  • Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping
  • Full First Aid and CPR training
  • Interview and find a job
  • How to start their own business (if it’s something they are interested in)
  • Make their own appointments
  • How to pay a bill
  • Basic car maintenance (doing it theirself or taking the car in for routine maintenance)
  • Civic responsibilities
  • How to plan a trip out of town

What can make life skills hard for kids?

Executive Function Disorder can make some of these things difficult at any age. Autistic people and people with ADHD often struggle with executive function as well. Click here for strategies to help with executive function issues.

Teaching Kids Life Skills from Ages 3 to 18

It’s never too late or too early to start teaching your kids these necessary life skills. Gradually build their knowledge and skills. Then also give them more responsibility.

Make sure your kids are prepared for adulthood by teaching them these skills. You’ll ensure that they can live independently and successfully handle being an adult.

Mom and daughter sitting in front of an open washer with text overlay that says life skills to teach ages 3 to 18.