Life Skills for Kids

Basic Life Skills for Kids

In an era where everything is done by technology, it is important that both children and parents are aware of the importance of learning some basic life skills. No matter what the age of your kid is, it is important to know some basic life skills that they can use in their everyday life.

Our grandmothers would most likely prefer to sweep the porch with a regular broom than use a vacuum that would take her ages to learn how to work. It would probably irate her just by trying to make something function. 

Best believe that they would rather do the labor than rely on something that they see would malfunction and would just make them work slower.

Parents should take the opportunity to look back to this simple situation and have the opportunity to share with their kids the must-needed everyday life skills which were passed from generation to generation. 

Computers and all other kinds of technologies are actually helpful when used the right way. Contrary to the belief that technology destroys the minds of children due to too much exposure to screens, technology makes our lives easier when used properly. 

However, we should not rely on technology in doing certain life skills. With the pandemic coming unexpectedly, everyone is working from home nowadays thus making parents have more time to be with their kids. 

Basic Life Skills Your Kids Should Know

Life Skills for Kids

Doing the laundry

As early as the 1800s, washing machines were already invented. It was William Blackstone of Indiana who built the machine that removed dirt and stains from laundry as a birthday present for his wife. 

This thoughtful gift would come to be the first example of washing machines designed for convenient use in the home.

Our kids need to learn how to do the laundry without washing machines first. In third world countries, people still use their hands to wash the laundry especially those who cannot afford to buy such a machine. 

It should also be noted that washing machines consume more (and probably) unnecessary water than regular hand washing.

Here are some basic ideas when hand washing clothes to teach your kids:

a. Separate the whites from the colored clothes as this may cause some dyes of the colored clothes to transfer to the whites. Wash the white clothes first and do not forget to focus on stains.

b. Use water and soap according to the number of clothes you are washing. Remember, we are learning to hand wash because we also want to teach our children to conserve resources.

c. Learn how to use bleach to target stains. We don’t want our favorite shirt blotched because we mistook it for laundry soap.

Life Skills for Kids

Cooking

We all know that take-outs are sometimes just as good as home-made meal. However, no one beats cooking recipes that were passed from generation to generation. 

Believe me when I say that most successful restaurants achieved their success because of well-known recipes from all over the world. Who knows? Your kid would probably dream of becoming a chef one day.

Cooking is a basic life skill that our kids should learn. Everywhere in the world, kids are exposed to cooking just as they are exposed to food at an early age.

Yes. I can read your mind. “How will I teach my kids to learn how to cook when I don’t even have cooking skills myself?” 

The answer to that is pretty simple. You can learn the skill of cooking together with your kid. 

Some basic cooking skills that your kid (and you) should probably learn are the following:

  • Learn how to measure Ingredients.
  • Learn by the cookbook or experiment with cooking by using your sense of taste.
  • Familiarize your kid with the use of different mediums and equipment for cooking such as pans, pots, and other cooking utensils.
  • Guide them in using the knife before letting them be on their own.
Life Skills for Kids

Sewing

We all know the feeling of not being able to wear a shirt because a button popped out. The night before we were already thinking of that shirt and it turns out that you cannot use it.

Imagine the feeling of being able to remedy that problem because you know how to sew. Imagine your kid having the same kind of relief when he encounters such a problem.

He need not run to the seamstress to be charged a couple of dollars because he can do it himself.

When schools were open, sewing classes were offered in high school. However, this is sometimes taken for granted because boys would find it as a skill for girls only. 

Sewing is not just for girls. If it were, we would not have great men designers in our time today. 

Imagine having a world where only clothes for girls would exist since men refuse to associate themselves with the labor of doing such. It would not be as great right?

Basic sewing is an important life skill and is the vehicle to teach self-confidence through skill-building. It helps you develop fine motor skills, improves your focus and concentration, and teaches the importance of patience and self-control. 

Knowing personal boundaries, increasing skill, achieving tangible goals while working outside your comfort zone all support the development of confidence and self-esteem.

Life Skills for Kids

Grocery shopping

Grocery shopping is as easy as 1-2-3 especially when you learn to enjoy it. If it seems like a chore, you are doing it wrong. One thing you can teach your kids is how to shop for the best quality groceries. 

Some basic skills in grocery shopping should include:

a. Finding the best quality products at the cheapest price.

For example, when grocery shopping for fruits and vegetables or any other foods that easily perish, it is better to shop at the market than in the grocery stores. Why? This is because goods are automatically more expensive in the grocery than those which are found fresh in the market.

However, if there is no available marketplace near you, you can teach your child how to look for fruits and vegetables and buy only at the amount which they can consume. If they see that it is on sale, they should not hoard but rather should only buy what they really can consume.

For example, ripe avocados are good for 2-3 days only. Kids should know how long the time for certain foods to perish.

Another thing to learn and teach your kids is that when buying meat, poultry, or fish, it is better to buy at the wet market or if available, those specialty butcher shops. Little do people know that these stores serve quality meats than the ones sold at the big grocery shops since these are specialty stores. 

It’s also good to remind our kids that it’s not necessarily bad to shop at big commercial grocery stores. But if given the option, it is best to get a good quality product so that they can get a bang for their buck. 

b. Shopping only for what they need for the week or a certain period of time

Another tip is to only shop for groceries which they can consume in a week. We need to teach our kids the skill of management. 

On average, American households dump the equivalent of $1,900 worth of food a year. Imagine that? If we teach our kids the basic skill of food management, they would learn to buy what they need and avoid adding to this wastage. 

This practice is actually a problem in today’s time. It is not just the household who add to this problem but also restaurants and shops that do not get to sell all their products and would just expire on the shelves. 

To teach kids or teens coming of age this skill, let them write all the dishes they would like to consume in their day. Another thing would be if you will be cooking, list down all the ingredients you need and let them pick up some of the products you need by giving them a certain budget.

c. Read food labels 

If your kid is old enough to read, you should encourage him or her to read the food he is consuming. This is because sometimes, exposing our kids as early as the concepts of what is raw, organic, or what has preservatives is valuable.

In a time where what we consume is important, we also need to know what we are putting in our bodies. To influence our child that we should consume only the good stuff, we should also practice reading the labels of what we consume.

Budgeting

Another life skill for kids to learn is budgeting money. As early as when you give them their first lunch money, they should learn how to budget already.

So for example, a relative gives your kid birthday money, let them only spend what they need have them save the remaining amount. Saving their money does not need to be in a bank (although some people let their kids open a passbook account as young as eight years old). 

Sometimes, a piggybank would do.

Another ways to let them learn to save is when they want something that is out of budget or is pretty expensive for your income, such as a new gadget, you can ask them to save a percentage of the total amount of the price of the total amount you need to pay.

For example, they want the new playstation and it would cost $500. It’s neither their birthday nor it’s Christmas. Instead of spoiling them by buying them the gadget itself, let them save for the $100.

With this strategy, they would actually learn the value of their money. Plus, they would take good care of the gadget and would not just take it for granted because they knew by themselves that they worked hard for it.

Conclusion

There are a lot of other skills that kids can learn like

It is the role of the parents to prepare their kids for the journey called life. 

Many adult grow up to be reliant on money and technology to do certain chores or services for themselves. There is nothing wrong with that. But parents should not let that mindset consume our kids that kids only know how to spend their money. 

It is better for our kids to be prepared for the future and us being proud of how far they could come because of the basic life skills we taught them.

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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