Life Skills for Kids

Lynn Schreiber

What is your parenting goal? One of mine is that my kids move out before they are 20 years old.

I’m only half joking when I write this. I don’t fear the Empty Nest Syndrome. While I adore my kids, I want them to live their own lives, and to get out and explore the world, in their own way. They’ve a while to go till then, so I’m building the foundations of their future, by ensuring that they have the necessary life skills to become independent adults.

We discussed this recently on our Facebook Group, and came up with a list of Life Skills for Kids

life skills for kids

DOWNLOAD AS A PDF HERE : life skills for kids

Household and Financial

Prepare them for running their own household and finances. Household budgeting is both financial and household skill building. You can include things like writing a menu plan for the week, making (and sticking to) a shopping list – skills that will be really helpful when they move out of your home. It also helps them appreciate how much money even basic groceries cost, and make them think twice about wasting food.


Teaching kids about loans and credits is vital, especially when they will be bombarded with offers of ‘easy credit’ when they are over 18 years old. Not all credit is bad, and they need to be taught how to differentiate between taking out a loan to pay for consumable goods (e.g. a holiday or electronics), and taking on a student loan or a mortgage. Particularly important is a warning against taking on so-called ‘payday loans’, with huge interest rates, which so often make the financial situation much worse than before.

Relationships and Emotional Skills

Being able to speak up for themselves (self-advocacy) is a vital skill for children to learn, and they can start learning this from a young age. Let them order their own meal in a cafe, or pay for something in a shop. When it comes to looking for a job, get them to make appointments and ask for interviews themselves. Shy and introverted kids might find this more difficult, but with a bit of practice, they can learn to be more confident.

Children learn empathy over the years, and a great skill to have is recognising when someone is sad or unhappy and knowing how to respond. They don’t have to make everything better, but they can be willing to offer a kind word or a gentle hug.


Knowing how to negotiate and compromise, and how to apologise are great skills to have when applying for further education or employment. Knowing one’s own skills and talents, and being able to sell them confidently will also help. Work on problem solving, and give them the time and resources to work things out.


fake quotes

Critical thinking is a great skill to teach kids. Does that offer sound too good to be true? Are their favourite YouTubers recommending a product because they genuinely like it, or because the company is paying them to advertise it?

Particularly with regard to things they read on the internet, critical thinking is vital. This protects them from all manner of dodgy offers and ideas.



How to Teach Kids Life Skills

  • start when they are young, with age appropriate activities.
  • gradually introduce more tasks for them to do. These aren’t chores, so don’t present them as such.
  • make a big deal about them being old enough to do the task alone.
  • arrange with them that you will help if they need assistance, but don’t take over if they struggle.
  • praise their effort and the result (even if it is a bit wonky!)
  • resist the temptation to tidy up after them, or adjust what they’ve done. It’s ok for it not to be completely perfect!

When Kids Learn Life Skills They …

  • become more confident, as they learn to trust their abilities.
  • build a trusting relationship with their parents.
  • learn from their mistakes.
  • learn to respect others, and to value their possessions.
  • are better able to recognise dangers and opportunities.


Further Reading

Be a Good Communicator

With practical tips for kids, this article (aimed at kids) explains the basics of communication, and included exercises that the kids can do to become great communicators.

Three Things That You are Good At – By Rebecca Pintre

“We are taught from childhood age how socially unacceptable it is to brag or boast. Children’s books are full of stories of friendless boasters, and not getting a big head is a lesson which has been passed through the generations.

And to a certain extent I would agree. No-one likes to listen to someone who monopolises every conversation with continual boasts about their home, wealth, work related successes or even how fabulous their children are. But there is a big difference between being a boast and being able to acknowledge your strengths and achievements.” read more 

10 Life Skills Every Parent Should Teach their Kids on LifeHacker

“These essential life skills will help your child better cope in the world and grow into a responsible, respectful and valuable member of society” read more

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