The importance of life skills can’t be understated. Here are life skills for toddlers, preschoolers, kids, and social skills and activities.
When you’ve got little kids, this idea of “life skills” can be daunting.
You feel like… my toddler’s only skills are destrying the house and refusing to eat vegetables.
That’s how we’re moving now.
You feel all this pressure to teach them things and then you realize your 6 year old can’t tie his own shoes because, really, he never had any shoes with shoelaces until those baseball cleats showed up.
This is when we back up. Release the guilt and stress and whatever else… and say… we’re just gonna start with the basics.
We’re not going to imagine them 35 still living at home unable to work the washing machine. No, we are not going to jump to Bad Scenarios in our head.
As is a mantra around here – and definitely when teaching life skills – we will dive in and just do Something. Something is infinitely better than Nothing and Everything was always impossible so now Something is the new standard.
The Importance Of Life Skills
It is important our kids know how to take care of themselves, of course, so let’s dive in!
Table of Contents...
First, Essential Skills Everyone Needs To Know
So let’s first talk about basic life skills people of all ages need to know. Then we’ll dive into more specifics.
I am describing these things with respect to little kids, okay, but you’ll be able to apply it to adults.
- Basic hygiene | This includes brushing teeth, washing or showering one’s self, wiping, washing hands, etc.
- Self care | Taking clothes off, putting clothes on, brushing hair, putting on shoes, tying shoe laces
- Life management | Saving money, paying bills, preparing food, working, etc.
- Environment Organization | Cleaning, tidying, washing clothes, maintaining room/home
Life Skills For Toddlers
Here are some life skills (and some self care skills) your little ones can do.
- Putting clothes in laundry basket
- Putting toys away in toy basket
- Brushing teeth
- Combing hair
- Dusting (with a feather duster)
- Going potty on their own (for early potty trainers)
- Washing face and hands
- Feeding one’s self
- Clearing place at the table after dinner
- Helping to set table (non breakable things)
Life Skills For Preschoolers
Preschoolers are old enough to do a lot of things.
They are now potty trained, able to communicate much more freely, and are on a more free daily routine.
- Bringing in groceries from car
- Setting the table
- Clear place after snacks and mealtimes
- Prepare their own snack
- Wiping table and counter tops
- Folding towels
- Washing hands
- Brushing teeth
- Making bed
- Putting on and taking off clothes
- Using the potty
- Swimming (this is a neat trick if you own a pool)
- Sweeping (may need help with dustpan as they build the scooping skill)
Life Skills For Kids (Early Elementary And Up)
Here are things you can begin teaching your kids aged 5 and up. Really, you can probably teach them earlier if you have keen pupils.
By this age children are fairly independent in their personal self care and hygiene needs, although you still may have to do quite a bit of reminding.
- Gathering and taking out trash
- Cleaning sinks and counter tops
- Cleaning toilets
- Loading and unloading dishwasher
- Pumping gas (my 7 year old son pumps our gas safely)
- Washing clothes, transferring to dryer, folding, then putting clothes away
- Understanding how clocks and time works
- Ordering at restaurants, speaking politely to employees (restaurants, cashiers, clerks, store assistants, etc.)
- Packing lunches
- Cooking simple meals
- Clean mirrors
- Wipe cabinets
- Sweep / mop
Teaching Social Skills
This is where we help our kids learn the socially acceptable rules in our own culture.
Every country has its own rules (bowing vs hand shake vs cheek kiss, etc.) so teaching our kids how to handle themselves socially will help them develop social confidence.
- Greeting an adult
- Greeting another child
- How to ask a child or group of children if they want to play (or if he can join their play)
- Listening to another child without interrupting
- Asking polite questions
- Making eye contact
- Saying “please” and “thank you”
- Learning proper contact / distance that makes others comfortable
- How to know if something is considered “rude” or not (i.e. correcting strangers, saying you don’t like food another cooked, etc.)
Life Management Skills
These are what I refer to more as informational or knowledge based skills that will helpful navigate a wide range of activities.
- Learning their phone number
- Knowing how to call 911
- Memorizing their address
- How to ask a stranger for help
- How to use a phone (or cell phone) to call 911 even if it’s locked
- Learning how to count money
Checklist (Printable By Age)
Here is a free printable for you with all the life skills shown above, by age, so you can check them off as you address them with your littles!
Download it for free, print it out, hang it up, and check off the skills as they are learned!
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Take this quiz to see how well your home systems work then get free and easy hacks to help make your home more tidy, peaceful, and organized.
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