17 Important Life Skills For Children

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Life skills for children and their development go hand in hand. 

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You will be helping your children succeed later in life when you teach them some of these life skills early enough. 

The best way to do this as a parent is to discover the most important life skills your child needs and incorporate them into their daily routine

In this post, we will be looking at a lot of skills that will help children become successful later in life. 

Essential Life Skills For Children

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These seven essential skills will help your child succeed in all aspects of life, including school, work, and relationships. 

Photo of a parent and child learning gardening; this is one of the important life skills for children

These 7 essential skills are taken from Ellen Galinsky’s groundbreaking book: “Mind in the making”. 

1. Focus and self-control 

Children thrive on routines, habits, and schedules. And these help in creating a sense of security for them. They also help them learn to focus and self-control. 

To build these skills in your children, talk with them about what to expect each day. 

Make your home well-organized so that your children know where to keep their personal belongings, shoes, and coats. 

Also include quiet activities like reading, sensory activities, and completing a puzzle together in their daily routine. It will help them slow down and learn how to focus in a world that is noisy and filled with distractions. 

2. Taking a perspective 

Most children naturally don’t know how to think about another point of view. But you can help develop this skill in your children. 

Give them books to read and discuss the character’s feelings and motivations. For instance, “I wonder why the cat and monkey wouldn’t help the little puppy”. 

Also, try and make observations with them about how others are feeling. For instance, say things like: “Matthew was so sad that he didn’t get a turn, I wonder what we can do to make him feel better”. 

Saying this out loud to your kids and waiting for their response will incorporate this skill in them from childhood thereby helping them become better adults. 

3. Communication 

To build social-emotional skills in your children, you need to give them high-touch personal interactions every day. This will also help them develop the ability to understand and communicate with their peers and others. 

The pace at which your children develop this skill may vary, so you should be patient with them. 

Teach them how to read social cues and listen carefully. They should learn to consider what they want to communicate and how to choose the most effective way to share it. 

Apart from having high-touch personal interactions with them every day, just talking with an interested adult can help them build this skill. 

Then every day, you should spend time listening and responding to your children without distractions. 

Photo of a father and his daughter

4. Making connections 

Ellen Galinsky said true learning occurs when we can see the patterns and connections between apparently dissimilar things. The more connections you can make, the more sense and meaning you can make out of this world. 

Young children can learn this and begin to see patterns and connections as they arrange basic household items like their toys, socks, and wears. 

Simple acts you let them do like choosing appropriate dress for the weather will help them build connections. 

Another way to help them build this skill is to point out more abstract connections in stories or real-life issues. For instance, you can say to them, “this book reminds me of when we picked seashells at the beach”. 

5. Critical thinking 

In the complex world we live in, adults are required to analyze information and make decisions about a lot of things every day. 

One of the best ways to build critical thinking skills in children is by allowing them to engage in rich, open-ended play. 

Make sure that you include time to play in your children’s daily routine. It can be time to play alone or play with friends. We have posts on interesting board games that can develop this skill in children. 

There are also video games that help children think critically and holiday games and activities too children enjoy and learn important life skills from. 

You can also suggest to them that their play include taking on roles like pretending to be superheroes or firefighters. The play can also include building structures, playing outside, physical games like hide and seek, and even playing board games. 

Children formulate hypotheses through play, try out ideas, take risks, make mistakes, and find solutions. All these are important in building critical thinking skills in children. 

6. Taking on challenges

Resilience, an art of being able to take on challenges and bounce back from hurt or failure and keep trying is one of the most important skills we can learn in life. 

To help your children learn how to take on challenges, you have to create an environment with the right amount of structure. This environment shouldn’t be limiting but it should be enough to make them feel safe. 

After creating this environment, you encourage your child to try new things and take reasonable risks like climbing a tree or riding a bicycle. 

You can even suggest a new challenge when they seem ready, for instance, you can say: “I think you are ready to tie your shoes, let’s give it a try”. 

When they are doing these tasks, focus more on their efforts than achievement and praise them, this will encourage them to do better. 

You can say something like this: “Learning to tie your shoes was really hard but despite that, you kept trying. Well done”.

You have inputted resilience in your child just by saying these kind words. 

Photo of happy kids; teaching kids how to surmount  challenges is one of the important life skills for children

7. Self-directed and engaged learning 

Children who love learning rarely become adults who are bored in life. To imbibe the love of learning in your children, limit their television time and encourage plenty of play, reading, and open-ended exploration. 

You should also model curiosity and enthusiasm for learning in your own life and you show this by visiting the library. Visit the library together with your kids, make crafts and keep craft supplies, make games available to your kids, and give them room to create some messes at home. 

Important Life Skills To Teach Your Children By The Age Of 10

You will equip your children for the great big world by teaching them these valuable life skills. 

It is easy for kids to miss out on practical life skills due to school and other activities, but you can incorporate these skills into their holiday routine and prepare them for adulthood. 

1. Preparing a simple meal 

Photo of a Dad and his child preparing a meal; this is one of the important life skills for children

Invite your child to help you make meals and give them jobs to do. Stay calm when they make mistakes like spilling flours or liquids. 

For kids younger than 10, they can: 

  • Cut bananas with a plastic knife 
  • Seal empanada edges with a fork 
  • Blend yogurt and fruit for breakfast
  • Learn how to make sandwiches and smoothies but you must be there to monitor the blender closely 
  • Make toaster-oven faves like English-muffin pizza. 
  • By the age of 10, they can use stove top but this should be under your supervision. They can fry eggs, make cupcakes, and quesadillas. 

2. Using the internet wisely 

These days, kids are spending more time on screens than ever before. This is why you have you reinforce new rules to help them navigate the digital world safely. 

As soon as your child can use technology, you need to enforce these practices: 

  • Choose a password that is hard to guess and always keep it private except from mom and dad. 
  • Only chat with people that you know in real life. Don’t give out your personal information like your phone number, home address, birthday, etc. 
  • Always be kind. Anything that you send or say online is there forever. The internet never forgets. 
  • Get permission from mom or dad or ask for help before you click a pop-up or download something. 
  • Most importantly, remind your kids regularly that they can come to you if they have any issues. 

3. Doing the laundry 

A lot of teens head to college without any clue on how to wash their clothes, your child shouldn’t be one of them. 

You can start laundry lessons when your kids are around six years of age. Keep a step stool nearby if you have a top-loading washer. 

Walk them through the process carefully, like how to measure and add detergents, and how to set and start the machine. 

4. Gardening 

Photo of a father and his daughter gardening; this is one of the important life skills for children

A lot of preschoolers learn about plants in class but not how they can transfer sprouts into a garden. By the age of six or seven, your kids should be able to remove seedlings on their own. 

Follow these steps when teaching your children about gardening, an important life skill:

  • Prepare a spot to plant a seedling. Add 2 inches of organic compost to the top of the soil if possible. Mix it in the soil and break up dirt clods. Water the soil until it is moist as a wrung-out sponge. 
  • Ask your child to dig a hole in the soil. It should be slightly larger than the container the plant is in. 
  • Remove the plant from the pot and place it in the hole. Ask your child to gently push soil around it and pat it down. 
  • Ask your child to water it with a gentle stream of water from a watering can with a perforated nozzle. 
  • To have your child remove a seedling on their own, he or she should split two fingers apart to enable the stem of the plant go in between them. 

Then they should turn the potted seedling upside down and squeeze outside the container until the plant comes out. If the roots are wound tightly, your kid should loosen them a few at a time before planting. 

5. Letter writing 

We know they teach this in school but you should make it real and practical for your children. 

You can have your toddler dictate a note to a family member or an amigo and enhance it with drawing. 

Then the child should attach a stamp and drop it in the mailbox. 

You can model for an older child how to address an envelope. Go over the 5 parts of a letter with them: the date, greeting, body, closing, and signature. Then you can have them:

  • Find a pen pal 
  • Practice good writing and do a good deed at the same time by writing letters to members of the military, or connecting with a lonely or isolated adult. 
  • Correspond with the president or vice president. Address their letters to the white house, office of the president or vice president, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500. 

6. Learn CPR

Children as young as 9, can learn and administer CPR to people who are choking, thereby helping them. There are programs that can help kids learn this art. 

An example is the Heimlich Heroes that provide abdominal thrust training resource for kids in the first grade and upwards. To teach kids the Heimlich technique, tell your kids that if someone can’t speak, cough, or breathe, they should first ask this question:

“Are you choking?” 

If the person nods “yes” and no adult is around, they should do the following: 

  • Stand behind the person who is choking and wrap their hands around them 
  • Make a clenched fist with one hand only and place the thumb side just above their belly button but below their rib cage. 
  • Grasp your fist with the other hand and thrust it into their abdomen with quick inward and upward thrust. Repeat this until the object pops out. 

You can also allow them to practice on teddy bears.

7. Treating a wound

If you don’t want your child to freak out when you see blood, you have to make sure you don’t overreact too. Give them a game plan and also distract them from the pain.

This will come in handy when you are not around to kiss their boo-boos. 

So, teach your children to do the following: 

  • If the scrap or cut is bleeding, they should press on the area firmly with a clean cloth until the bleeding stops. 
  • They should hold the cut under running water or dab it gently with a wet paper towel. 
  • Apply antibiotic ointment using a cotton swab 
  • Cover the wound with gauze and tape or an adhesive bandage. 

8. Navigating 

Photo of a map; learning how to read maps is one of the important life skills for children

Being able to read a map is an essential skill everyone should know including children. You will agree with this if you’ve ever gotten lost following your GPS turn-by-turn voice directions. 

Reading a map is essential, even if it is the one on your phone. And teaching your child this will build his/her navigational skills. 

You teach children navigational skills by:

  • Hunting for treasure using maps. Reading maps are actually boring until you use them to look for treasures. Hide toys in your yard then draw a simple sketch to mark their location. 

Give this map to your 3 or 4-year-old and show them how objects on the map correspond to those in front of them. Then have them lead the way.

  • Another way to teach them map reading is to take them to zoos, theme parks, and museums. They have colorful and easy-to-read maps. Ask your preschooler to track their path and ask an older kid to lead you from point A to point B. 
  • Take up geo-coaching. Children age 5 and above love treasure hint games using GPS tracking. Ask them to find containers filled with trinkets. 

9. Wrapping a gift 

Children already love giving presents, so teaching them how to wrap gifts will make it more satisfying. 

Your preschooler can help cut the paper and stick on the tape. Kindergarteners can remove the price tag, find the right size box, and wrap paper around the gift to make sure it fits before cutting. 

10. Comparison shopping 

Being a smart consumer takes a lot of practice, you can help your kids by teaching them this skill early enough so that by the time they become adults, it will be a lifestyle for them. 

These three steps approach will help you instill this skill in your children:

  • Explain as you go. Say the prices out loud and talk about the choices with your child. For instance, you can say something like this: “I am getting gas at the other station because it is cheaper, it costs 10 cents less per gallon there”. 

Also share with them the things you will love to have, let’s say the latest tech or sneakers but won’t buy them because they are not in your budget. 

  • Allow your child to pay sometimes. You can also designate certain items that they are responsible for purchasing like toys and games. 

This will teach your kids to manage money and experience the feeling and satisfaction that comes with saving for something and buying what you want. 

  • Play the grocery game. When you’re in the supermarket shopping, or online, or in-store, challenge your child to find the least expensive brand of cereal. 

Life Skills For Preschoolers

Preschoolers are kids between the ages of 3 to 5 years. From this little age, you can encourage your little ones to be independent.

This is how you can teach basic life skills to your preschoolers and help them manage their simple daily activities all by themselves.

This will boost their confidence and self-esteem from a young age and help them in the long run. One of the best ways you can help your kids is to teach them to independent.

1. Manners

Children with good manners grow up to be adults with good manners and this skill will help them throughout their lives. You teach this by setting food examples for them.

Preschoolers learn through imitation.

So lead the way and this will influence their actions for the rest of their life.

2. How to dress and undress

This is another useful skill to teach your child and when they learn this, you will be free from the daily chores of dressing and undressing your kids.

And the sooner you teach this skill, the better because it lays the foundation for other skills.

3. Tying their shoelace

This is a bit tricky for a young child but it is one of the most necessary skills they have to learn. Encourage your preschooler by making it a fun activity instead of making it look like an exercise.

Make it a game and he/she will pick up the skill faster.

4. Wash hands before meals

Washing the hands prevent a lot of sicknesses, teach your child from a young age that clean hands are important before eating and that it keeps him healthy.

Take them to the tap and teach them how to use soap and water in washing their hands. If they are too small to reach the kitchen sink, use a learning tower.

Do this before every meal and it will automatically become a habit. They would do it without being told. You can make it fun by using songs.

5. Self-control

Don’t allow your preschoolers over-indulge themselves with sweets or playing past their bedtime. You have to teach them self-control from a young age.

This skill will help your preschooler grow into a fuss-free adult.

Sit your child down and teach him/her the importance of self-control and also the concept of delayed gratification.

6. How to put things away

This skill will teach your child the importance of cleanliness and orderliness. Show them how to put their toys away when they are done playing and how to put their plates and cutlery in the sink when they are done eating.

Also teach them where to put dirty laundry.

7. Combing their hair

This should be done under your supervision until your child becomes a little older.

They can poke their eyes with the comb. But always allow them to comb their hair first and then you fix it if you are not satisfied with the result.

8. Swimming

Apart from being a fun activity, swimming is an important life skill. It is important they learn this life-saving skill from a young age. It will also help them overcome the fear of water.

9. Handling money

You can teach your kids the importance of money and how to save money by giving them little amount of money for the chores they do and for good behaviors.

Then you also teach them how to budget this money that they earn. This will help them grow into adults that are financially literate. There are also good money books for kids you can get your preschoolers and read it to them.

10. How to plan

Teach them this important skill from a young age. Start small by allowing them plan their playtime and what toys they intend to play with.

Then you gradually graduate to other activities that make up their day. this will teach them planning and execution from a very young age and help them as adults.

Remember that these are preschoolers, so you teach them with gentleness and loving care because they learn best this way.

They also learn better when things are shown to them in a positive way and when they are taught by examples.

Conclusion

By following these tips, you will easily build these essential skills in your children and help them become better and successful adults in the future. 

Lily & The FBM Team
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